News of Jasou’s unexpected death spread quickly through Scarborough and beyond.

After more than seven years with the Scarborough Police Department, the German shepherd succumbed last month to a lung condition called sudden pneumothorax.

As one of the department’s two dogs that were cross-trained in patrol and narcotics work, Jasou left a large hole in the police force and the lives of those who worked with him.

Unsolicited donations started coming to the department soon after the death of Jasou (pronounced Hey-zu). Businesses, the Scarborough Public Dispatchers Association and the Westbrook Police Association were among the contributors for a new K-9.

In all, the department received $6,900, which should cover most or all of the price of an appropriate but untrained dog.

Officer James Farrenkopf, president of the Westbrook Police Association, said his department’s K-9 program works closely with its counterparts in Scarborough and other nearby communities.

“They needed some help. We couldn’t think of a better way to help them,” Farrenkopf said. “We know how expensive a K-9 program can be.”

Eric Berry, Scarborough’s lead dispatcher, said members of his union knew Jasou. He wasn’t surprised that business people who didn’t know the dog also wanted to contribute.

“As big as Scarborough seems to be, there’s still a lot of town orientation,” he said.

While missing his partner terribly, Officer Michael Sawyer has been working to find a new K-9. Sawyer said the new dog will work with him but won’t be considered a replacement for Jasou.

Sawyer and Jasou had been together since the dog was 15 months old. They lived together and worked together to find lost people, track down suspects, locate hidden drugs and do community outreach.

“It’s so much of what I do. It’s at home and it’s at work. It’s my job,” Sawyer said. “That’s the toughest part for me. Not only did I lose a great friend and partner, I wasn’t able to continue to do what I do.”

Jasou – he came with the name from the Belgian vendor – was notable for his gentle behavior and intense work ethic, Sawyer said. The police dog played so nicely that Sawyer had no worries about bringing his newborn daughter home.

Jasou was driven when it came to tracking, showing more interest in the work than the toy reward.

The new police dog won’t necessarily be a German shepherd, although Sawyer said that breed trains well and is well-suited to Maine’s cold winters.

Scent detection is a necessary trait, as are a social temperament and the ability to work in various environments without getting spooked. A dog’s patrol work includes protecting its handler, a role that can involve biting.

Police Chief Robert Moulton said some of the business donors wished to remain anonymous. All of the donors will eventually be invited to meet the new dog in the Town Council chambers, and those who don’t prefer anonymity will be recognized.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

akim@pressherald.com