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New Phila PD back to one K9 unit after handler steps down

| October 13, 2022

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Oct. 13, 2022) – The search is on for the police department’s next K9 handler.

Chief Mike Goodwin says they’re looking for someone to work alongside Diesel, whose handler, Mike Pierce, had been on leave because of an injury and stepped down last Friday. 

“He was going through some issues. He had hurt his arm off duty and decided it was time for him to resign. He didn’t think he could come back to work and control the K9.”

Goodwin plans to hire someone from within the department, who will then have to go through certification training. 

“I want to say it’s like three or four months of training. This one may not be as hard. This will be more of the training for the handler. The dog already knows what he’s supposed to do. He just has to get acclimated with the new handler, and the new handler would have to get acclimated with him and learn what the dog can and can’t do.”

The department still has one K9 handler – Officer Brad Geist – whose been patrolling the streets with a Belgian Malinois named Cooper since March. Goodwin says they’re grateful for Pierce’s 22 years of service, which also included time as a patrolman and a detective. 

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