The History of the City of Burlington Police K-9 Unit
The City of Burlington Police K-9 Unit was the first in Burlington County and was started back in March of 1965, nearly 50 years ago. The first K-9 Officer and partner on the force back than was Marino (Bud) Sasdelli and his 100 pound German sheppard King. Officer Sasdelli donated his canine King and they trained together to be a major asset to the Police force. The Unit was created as a special force for evening patrols and officer protection and quickly grew to include Officer Harry Morgan and his K-9 partner, Sergeant. The first canine vehicle was a 1965 Chevrolet Biscayne Wagon.
During the 1970’s the force had Officer Nicholas Abate and his K-9 Zeus that was also trained in apprehension and search. Zeus responded to hand signals and verbal commands in German. In the early 1990’s we had Lt. Patrick Edwardson and his black Labrador retriever partner Scandy and his brown Labrador Buster who were trained in narcotics detection. There were quite a few years until the early 2000’s when there were no K-9’s on the City of Burlington Police force.
Training has evolved greatly over these nearly 50 years and dogs are able to be trained effectively to multi task. Canines which were once used for only protection and apprehension have now become diversified to specific scent training and tasks. Scent detection can mean; scent tracking, drugs, guns and explosives.
In 2001 then Officer Alan Snow now Lt. Alan Snow, and his K-9 partner Rocky once again revived the Unit with the help of community supporters and funding. The Unit was once again up and barking. Over the past 14 years the City of Burlington Police force has had eight dedicated K-9’s on the force. Under the guidance of Lt. Alan Snow, the current K-9 Unit consists of Officer Jamie Lambing and Ode, Det. Robert Perro and Deuce, Det. Matthew Mercuri and Max, Det. Anna Czajka and Zero and Officer Brian Ptaszenski and Ricco. Our Unit is not only an asset to our Community but to others as well, responding to assist local municipalities when called upon. All of our K-9’s and their handlers have been trained at the Philadelphia Police K-9 Academy in specific scent recognition and tracking services. Training doesn’t stop at graduation, these dogs and their dedicated handlers continue training as long as they are on the force.
In the past few years we have had to say a tearful goodbye to Rocky and Mic, who served our officers and Community well. These dogs were dedicated K-9 officers, partners and family friends. We still see our retired Officer Matthew Wisniewski and his K-9 partner Mikki, who frequent our events and shows.
The “K-9 Bike Show & Run” and the “K-9 Car Show” help to raise funds and awareness for our City of Burlington Police K-9 Unit and help to keep the Unit operating. There are many expenses incurred such as; training, supplies and food, specially equipped vehicles, insurance and medical expenses that each year continue to rise. We also have to plan ahead for future K-9’s upon the retirement of others. With the support of our Community, show goers and our generous sponsors and dedicated handlers, we have a Unit to be proud of. These K-9 handlers and their families share their homes with these K-9’s and they are truly not only a partner but a member of their families. Please come out and join us to thank and support the City of Burlington Police K-9 Unit, both the handlers and the canines.
My K-9 Friend
He is by my side through thick and thin,
Never asking why or when.
Doing as he is asked,
Obeying every word to the last.
He is there to protect and to serve,
To save man and learn.
They are a partner without saying a word,
Always present, thank the Lord.
Their time with us may be flighting,
But their spirit is honest and enlightening.
Let us be thankful for our canine friends,
For their love and dedication never ends.
L. Schiller 2014