by Brent Hovey

Reporter

Aurora -- The local police department's newest officer was presented to the Rotary Club at its May 16 breakfast meeting.

Officer Sayro walked into the breakfast at Anna Maria of Aurora on all four legs and with his partner, Officer Bill Byers.

Sayro is the new police dog the department received, thanks in part to a $10,000 donation from the Rotary Club to purchase and train him.

"He's such a beautiful dog," said Rotary President Carol Ruggie. "He's our little baby now."

Police Chief Seth Riewaldt and Byers expressed their gratitude to Rotary members.

"On Nov. 29 [2006], I was asked if there was anything I could visualize that would make the police department better," Riewaldt said to the group. "I said a police dog. Six months later, thanks to your generosity, we have Saryo."

"I can't tell you the joy of having this dog and being selected as his handler, and to have a group like this behind it," said Byers.

Sayro, a 17-month-old German shepherd, put on quite a show for the breakfast crowd. After mingling with Rotary members, enjoying all the attention and petting he was receiving, Sayro put on a demonstration of his skills.

Byers hid a bag of drugs in the room and Sayro went around sniffing until he found it under a chair. He spent the remainder of the session lying around and chewing on a rubber toy.

Byers said that is typical of his personality.

"HE IS A VERY laid-back dog," he said. "Sometimes I have to wake him up to come out of the cruiser."

Riewaldt said finding a dog with a socially pleasant personality was important.

"We wanted a dog capable of protecting people and searching for drugs and hidden violators, but also one which is very social," the chief said. "We want to be able to bring him into the schools for lessons with students."

Byers said Sayro was the top dog in his training classes and is very smart.

"He knows what he's doing," said Byers. "I have to realize I'm the second smartest in the car."

Sayro has been living with Byers since the city purchased him in March, and Byers said the reason training has gone so well is because of the connection made between dog and man.

"We were able to bond so well and that's what I'm most proud of," he said.

Byers' and Sayro's first day on patrol together was May 11. In his first three days, Sayro assisted with three arrests.

Sayro definitely impressed the members of the club who brought him to the city. Ruggie promised continued support in whatever the APD might need for Sayro.

"I just want to thank Rotary for bringing something so good and something that will benefit everyone to the city," said Mayor Lynn McGill. "After hearing all the requirements [for the dog], that's more than we have for the mayor."

"I never expected this," said Riewaldt. "I want to thank you [Rotary club] very much."

E-mail: bhovey@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115