The Scarborough Police Department is welcoming its newest member: Kona, a 3-year-old German shepherd who arrived in the United States last weekend.

Kona met his partner, Officer Michael Sawyer, on Saturday when he flew into Boston from Germany. The pair went home together that night and attended their first K-9 training session together this week.

Eventually, Kona will be certified in patrol and narcotics work and will participate in the department’s community outreach efforts.

Sawyer and Sgt. Tom Chard, head of the department’s K-9 program, have been looking for a new dog since Sawyer’s previous police dog died unexpectedly in February from a lung condition called sudden pneumothorax.

The death of Jasou (pronounced Hey-zu) prompted unsolicited contributions from businesses, public safety workers and others in the community. The department received $6,900 – enough to pay for an appropriate dog.

Kona and his giant paws made a good impression on Police Chief Robert Moulton when they first met. The newest addition to the force is very social and surprisingly agile, Moulton said.

Sawyer and Chard looked closer to home before turning to Andreas Schaefer, a dog handler and police officer in Germany.

Dog handlers in Maine and New Hampshire know Schaefer through his connection with Portsmouth, N.H., Police Chief David “Lou” Ferland, who founded the Working Dog Foundation.

Schaefer brought Kona and another dog, for police in Keene, N.H. He was coming to the U.S. to accept an award from the foundation, based in Portsmouth.

Schaefer chose Kona for Scarborough and sent the department a video of him. Kona already has obedience training and some tracking and protection skills.

“He seems to be a very good dog – a handsome dog – and has good working abilities. We call it drive,” he said.

An agreement between Schaefer and Scarborough police will allow for an exchange if the match doesn’t work out, Moulton said. But the chief is optimistic about the pairing.

“We have a good feeling,” he said.

 

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

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