MUNROE FALLS – A farewell party is planned June 9 at 6 p.m. in council chambers for one of the city’s officers.
Ryot, a female K-9 officer has served nine years and two months, said handler Sgt. Anthony Mancuso. She retired officially May 17.
"Ryot earned her retirement," Mancuso said. "She’ll live with us as a pet. She’s healthy, but I didn’t want to work her until she was hurt."
Mancuso obtained Ryot when she was 6 weeks old. A Belgian Malinois, Ryot began her career in 2010 for the Wellsville Police Department and has been working for the Munroe Falls Police Department for eight years.
"Ryot was my first dog," Mancuso said. "It was something I always wanted to do."
When the Wellsville Police Department offered the opportunity to work with a K-9 officer, Mancuso said he "jumped" on it. Schmidt’s of Macedonia was the breeder and trainer.
"I did my training right beside her, the two of us together," he said.
Ryot was trained and certified in narcotics, tracking, article search, building search and area search. She became a locate dog for missing people using a bark and hold position.
During her career, Ryot had 478 deployments and 388 arrests to her credit, Mancuso said. Of those, 108 were felony arrests. She had many successful tracking finds and even if she didn’t find a person, officers followed her to where a witness could help. She helped locate suspects involved in robberies and kidnappings. A drug investigation led to raiding a house with $17,000 in merchandise at the location.
Ryot will be replaced on the force by Ares, a male German Shepherd who will be 2 years old in July. He was bred locally out of Wayne County. Von Koenigin Vic was the breeder and Von Der Haus Gill was the trainer.
"One of my good friends is a K-9 handler for Northfield and he bred his dog," Mancuso said. "I got one of the pups from the litter. I’ve had him since he was 8 weeks old."
Mancuso has been training Ares since he was a puppy and both dogs live with him.
"He loves Ryot and follows her around," Mancuso said. "She tolerates him."
Ares was certified May 15 and is trained in narcotics, tracking, article search, apprehension and building search.
"He officially started his first shift on the road May 20," Mancuso said. "He did great. He’s been on the road for two weeks."
Being a K-9 handler is rewarding, but it’s a lot of work and time, Mancuso said.
"It’s very rewarding watching the dog grow and seeing the training from day one and what you’re teaching the dog," he said. "I know what I’m doing now so it’s a great bond and a lot of fun."
Like Ryot, Ares will help in all the surrounding communities if Mancuso is on duty and not busy in Munroe Falls. They cover Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson, Tallmadge and Mogadore.
Munroe Falls Police Chief Jerry Hughes said there are some things a dog can do better than a human.
"They can smell narcotics and alert on it or sniff out and find people," Hughes said. "They have been terrific for tracking, especially missing children."
The K-9 officers are the most popular officers, Hughes said.
"Both of Tony’s dogs are good with kids," he said. "I’m very pro-canine in police work."
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org