Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wildwood Police Introduce Newest Officer, K-9 Vera


The Commissioners’ Meeting Room inside Wildwood City Hall was packed with police officers, city officials, benefactors and local residents as the Wildwood Police Department officially introduced the newest member of the force, K-9 Vera, to the public.

During the March 22 Wildwood Board of Commissioners regular meeting, Police Chief Robert Regalbuto presented the 2-year-old German Shepherd to the city as part of the department’s crackdown on narcotics that not only plague the city but also plague the nation.

According to the chief, Vera, along with her partner officer/handler, Ptlm. Chris Katz, will begin a rigorous 22-week training program that will teach the dog to assist her fellow police officers when dealing with combative assailants, searching buildings and helping in the battle with narcotics. Both Vera and Katz will undergo 16 weeks of patrol training and an additional 6 weeks of narcotics detection training.

The Wildwood Police Department has not had a K-9 officer in four decades.  Throughout that time, when the assistance of a K-9 officer was needed a call was made to the Cape May County Sheriff’s Department to have a K-9 officer dispatched.

“We need a dog here,” Regalbuto explained to the audience. “We need her on our streets, on our Boardwalk, on Pacific Avenue or anywhere where we have problems.”

During the commissioners’ meeting, the new K-9 officer received her badge from Commissioner Tony Leonetti who oversees the city’s police department.

“We welcome our newest officer to our police department,” Leonetti said. “This K-9 will be used as a valuable addition to our department in helping them with their work as they continue their aggressive stance in curbing the sale and use of narcotics throughout the city and in assisting them in maintaining their rank as of the top police departments in the state.”

Regalbuto said bringing a K-9 Vera to the city would not have been possible without the support of the community. The purchase of the dog, her training and her maintenance were made possible through donations from local businesses and individuals.  To show appreciation of the people and businesses that helped bring Vera to the Wildwood Police Department, donors were honored with a plaque that will be displayed in City Hall.

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