As soon as Walla Walla Police Department K-9 Farel, 10, put a paw on the scene, suspects surrendered.
Farel was one of the hardest-working members of the WWPD team, with a service record that stands out in a crowd, said Sgt. Gunner Fulmer in a release. Now the K-9 is taking it easy in retirement.
To replace the dog will cost more than $20,000, which includes acquisition and training fees. Walla Walla Police Foundation is seeking help from the community to raise funds for a replacement K-9. Checks may be addressed to the WWPF at P.O. Box 3135, Walla Walla, WA 99362, or donors can go to ubne.ws/3u6QApy.
One of the Police Department’s most trusted and reliable four-legged helpers, the Belgian Malinois native to the Czech Republic recently retired from his primary duties working patrol within the city of Walla Walla and helping with criminal apprehension, article searches, tracking and officer protection.
When K-9s retire, they sometimes stay with their handler. The U-B reported on Aug. 18, 2018, that Gunner’s K-9 partner Rev lived with his family for three years after serving the WWPD from July 4, 2009, to his retirement in January 2015.
A German shepherd, Rev was a narcotics dog that worked to identify and find drugs for the WWPD and FBI in the Tri-Cities.
“He was a good dog,” Gunner said in the story. “He was very protective. He wasn’t your typical social dog. People couldn’t just come and love on him when he was at work, but when he was at home, he was just a big lover dog.”
Rev was experiencing hind leg problems and couldn’t walk well, Gunner said on Aug. 18, 2018, and his family decided to have Rev put down. Police work is wearing on the dogs’ bodies.
K-9 Farel, a key to police operations since joining the SWAT team in 2015, saved the lives of many suspects where deadly force was the only other option, officials said.
In a Dec. 30, 2018, U-B story about Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office K-9s, Sheriff’s Foundation President Wendi Kregger said, “You don’t know what you prevented, you just know you prevented it.”
“The deterrent factor and surrender factor is pretty big,” said retired Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Romine. He said having K-9s reduces the amount of time needed to search a building.
“Literally, my physical altercations with suspects decreased dramatically,” Jim said at the time. “They (suspects) knew if they touched me they would get bit.” For more on this story, see ubne.ws/2ZphWcz.
On Jan. 7, the Walla Walla police dispatched Farel and his handler to Waitsburg after Joseph A. Abbott, 25, fled from law enforcement in a car and then on foot, the U-B reported on Jan. 10. An arrest was made after the suspect lost control of his vehicle near Waitsburg and crashed, then ran up a creek. Farel tracked the man down and allowed Washington State Patrol troopers to arrest Abbott, according to a WWPD post. The U-B story is at ubne.ws/2ZqPMOg.
Farel and his handler, then Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Travis Goodwin, made a lateral transfer from the county to the city police department on April 1, 2015. The city bought Farel from the county for $10,000 so the team could stay together, the Tri-City Herald reported on March 23, 2015.
One of Farel’s most important moments was discovering a gun dumped in Pioneer Park, preventing the possibility a child could have found the weapon instead.
Gunner reported that during his years of service, Farel was attacked with Mace, gas and electricity and a suspect in Prescott once stabbed him while under the influence of drugs.
Despite the dangers, Farel returned to duty every day with “a wagging tail and a nose for adventure.”
Attempts to reach the WWPD for more information on Farel’s past deeds and his retirement plans were not answered.