MEQUON (WITI) -- It is always bittersweet when an officer retires from the force, and that was the case on Monday, August 25th at the Mequon Police Department. Officers said so long to a co-worker who has walked the beat for seven years -- on all four of his legs!
For the past seven years, Mequon Police Officer John Hoell was never alone as he started his day. He worked side-by-side with K9 Officer "Vero."
"It's been unbelievable. The best assignment you could ask for," Hoell said.
Vero is a dual purpose officer. Sworn into office in 2007, he has helped to track down suspects, and is responsible for taking more than $100,000 worth of drugs off the streets.
"We've been very successful," Hoell said.
Vero's success is documented in a scrapbook filled with photos, certificates and fond memories of his time on the team.
"He can certainly do things that humans can`t. He has found people hiding in places that we never would have found. He`s found drugs that were hidden behind a wall, we never would have known were there," Hoell said.
Vero's duties are now coming to an end. After seven years on the force, old age is kicking in.
"His nose is still really good. He`s still finding people just as late as last week -- but he`s slowing down a bit so it`s time," Hoell said.
It's a loss that stings everyone in the department and in the community. Some came to show their support at his retirement party.
""It's bittersweet. I'm glad that he's still with us, but it's sad that it's coming to an end," Hoell said.
Hoell's proudest moment was just last week when Vero was searching for a suspect, his hips gave out and he fell flat on his face. However, within seconds, he popped up and found the suspect.
Following his retirement, Vero will go home with Officer Hoell as a family pet.
The Mequon Police Department will get another K9 unit that starts training next week.