Riverhead PD gets new dog to walk the beat

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Riverhead Police officer John Morris with the K-9 dog Rocky named after the former Police Chief Roscoe Palmer.

The Riverhead Police Department has just doubled its ability to take a bite out of crime.

Rocky, a German shepherd, was introduced to the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday by his handler, officer John Morris.

Rocky is about a year-and-a-half old, he’s from Poland, and his training makes him patrol-certified to find people or evidence, Mr. Morris said. The town trains its police dogs with the Suffolk County Police Department, which can train dogs to find narcotics, cadavers or bombs, he said, adding that the town’s other police dog, Vaki, is handled by police officer John Doscinski, and is currently in advanced narcotics training.

Rocky is named for Roscoe Palmer, the former Riverhead Police chief who died in 2009, Officer Morris said. Chief Palmer’s son is Detective Dixon Palmer, who is the current Police Benevolent Association president.

“Dixon Palmer worked real hard to replace the police dog that died last year,” Mr. Palmer said. “With those things being said, I felt it was important to honor the memory of his father.”
Several members of the Palmer family were in attendance at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The dogs were acquired at no charge from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, which also paid for the training, Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said.

Several employees from the town’s buildings and grounds department and its municipal garage also worked to outfit a police car for the police dog, and to build a kennel at Officer Morris’ home, Mr. Walter said.

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