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Village’s K9 program to continue as handler battles health issues

| May 23, 2022
Dennison Patrolman Stephen Feck poses for a photo with K9 Bronco. Fete took over the police department's K9 program after Bronco's original handler, Officer Andrew Keller, died unexpectedly in March of 2020. (Dennison Police Department K9 Unit)

DENNISON (WJER) (May 23, 2022) – Dennison officials say the Police Department’s K9 Unit will go on after Handler Stephen Feck steps back to deal with some COVID-related health issues.

Feck is resigning from his position as a full-time patrolman on June 4th, although he told council he would be willing to work a couple of abbreviated shifts each week or assist the department when needed.

“I have started treatments and different stuff for long-hauler’s COVID, and me being here and trying to do 40 hours a week with the schedule and to maintain with everything is just not feasible right now for me.”

Feck has requested an early retirement for his partner, K9 Bronco, who turns 6 in July, if officials decide to hire a new handler.

“By the time he ends up going through training again if he did go to a third handler, it’s going to be the end of the year beginning of 2023 before he’s back out on the road and certified and ready to go potentially just to turn around and be retired after that to a different handler within six months to a year, if that.”

Feck was friends with Bronco’s original handler, Patrolman Andrew Keller, and took over the program after he died unexpectedly in March of 2020. He says Keller would have wanted Bronco to remain with him. Mayor Greg DiDonato referred the request to council’s safety committee.

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