Human Interest

When some retire, they may move to a warmer climate, take up golf or spend more time with the grandchildren. But for one Sedona Police Department retiree, his days will be spent catching up one some needed rest with a daily dose of fetch thrown in to help keep him in shape.

During the Tuesday, March 14, Sedona City Council meeting, Dalan, SPD’s K-9, was recognized by Mayor Sandy Moriarty with a proclamation for dedication of service for the past seven years.

“Dalan has been instrumental in the capture of several dangerous criminals during his career, keeping both his handler and the community safe,” the proclamation states. “In addition to the work performed on the street, Dalan has been an outstanding ambassador for law enforcement by being a regular guest in our schools and at local events, and he has participated in hundreds of canine demonstrations, where his easy manner and friendliness were appreciated by all.”

Tuesday marked Dalan’s last day on the job, which proved to be bittersweet for his handler and partner, Sgt. Stephanie Foley.

“I don’t know what tomorrow will be like when he doesn’t come to work with me,” Foley said to council and the audience. “Tomorrow will be a challenge in a different way — one where I’ll see if he’s willing to wear flip flops and Hawaiian shirts. But thank you all for accepting Dalan and myself in this community and to be part of presentations and everything else. We’ll see what
tomorrow brings.”

Foley and Dalan, a Belgian Malinois, became partners in April 2010, five years after Foley joined the SPD. Back then, she said she was interested in the K-9 program and worked closely with her predecessor and mentor, Sgt. Wil Lopez and his partner, Joker — SPD’s first K-9.

The two trained for K-9 patrol and narcotics work with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, a process that will begin again after the SPD opens the position for the next K-9 handler to current members of the city’s police force. A fundraising effort to acquire the next K-9 officer will begin this spring.

Foley said 8 to 9 is a typical retirement age for K-9s and Dalan turns 9 in September. She said when she was promoted to sergeant this time last year, the department decided that she and Dalan would have one more year together. She will now focus more time on her supervisory duties and the officers she oversees.  

“I’m going to miss my partner,” she said. “He’s been with me almost every day the last seven years.”

But the partisanship doesn’t end here. Like most K-9s, Dalan will go from Foley’s partner to her pet, joining Bindi, a border collie mix.

“He still has a very high drive and is always on alert,” she said. “He knows my routine. When I get dressed for work, he knows he’s getting ready for work as well. It’s going to take some time for him to adjust to retirement. I’ve started with little things. When we get home, I’ll take off his work collar and put on a pet collar just to change his routine a bit.”

Foley said there are too many cases and calls they have gone on to pick the most memorable but she did say their first drug bust as partners stands out in her mind as does assisting Camp Verde police following a bank robbery.

“K-9s are so highly trained and because of that, they are invaluable for any law enforcement agency,” she said. “The amount of man-hours they save is incredible because when it comes to finding something like narcotics or a weapon, they’re often able to do what 10 people can do in the same amount of time.”

In order to honor the importance of the K-9 program to the SPD, Foley has started raising money for a statue at city hall, with Dalan as the model. On it will be a plaque where each dog and partner will be listed both past and future. Those interested in donating can contact James Iacovacci at Law Enforcement Creations at (928) 202-8120.


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