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Riverhead police purchasing new K-9 to replace Vaki

Jack Doscinski

The Riverhead Town Police Department is purchasing a new dog to replace Vaki, who died in August at 8 years old.

Supervisor Sean Walter said the Riverhead Police Benevolent Association has worked with the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to reimburse the town for the cost.

According to Police Chief David Hegermiller, the dog will cost about $8,100, a sum that will be funded by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office asset forfeiture program. That program also paid for Vaki in 2009.

“I think the DA has bought every dog since I’ve been here,” Chief Hegermiller said.

“One good thing is that we have a K-9 trainer who is already certified, so the trainer doesn’t have to get trained as well,” said PBA president Dixon Palmer, who was referring to K-9 office John Doscinski, who partnered with Vaki and will also be teamed with the new dog. “It would probably take twice as long if they both had to be trained.”

Chief Hegermiller said training takes between 16 and 20 months.

Last Wednesday, the Town Board approved spending $700 so that Mr. Doscinski can travel to West Middle Sex, Penn., between Jan. 17-19 to retrieve the new dog.

Riverhead Town police have one other K-9 officer — John Morris, who is paired with a dog named Rocky. At times, Chief Hegermiller said, the department’s K-9 officers have responded to incidents in East End towns that don’t have such units.

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Top file photo: Jack Doscinski with Vaki. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

(Credit: Riverhead Police Department)