Lola is an all-black German Shepherd, and is trained in patrol work, tracking, and narcotic detection.
After 10 years of service, and over 1,000 arrests to her credit, Lola will be ending her service for the town of Westport and its citizens.
Lola first joined the police department in 2002 and was handled by then Officer Foti Koskinas until his promotion in 2007.
Officer Marc Heinmiller then took over the responsibilities as handler and caretaker of Lola until her retirement in January of this year.
Lola leaves behind a legacy that includes: numerous drug seizures, criminal apprehensions, the finding of the lost or missing, and the relationships she has made with many of the youth in town who have attended one of her many public demonstrations.
Some highlights of her career include:
- In 2003, Lola assisted the Fairfield Police department in locating a suicidal male in the area of Lake Mohegan. Lola started the search from the man's vehicle and tracked to his location along the edge of the lake.
- A year later, Lola located a burglary suspect who had broken the windows to a residence, and fled on foot. He was located by Lola hiding in the back seat of an unlocked vehicle several streets away.
- Tens of Thousands of dollars in cash seizures and several vehicles seized in association with narcotic enforcement. Recently, $3,200 was seized assisting the Connecticut State Police in a drug search on a motor vehicle stop.
- Recently her services were requested by the Wilton Police Department after a suspect with a felony warrant ran from officers. A track done by Lola led officers to a wooded area. Lola alerted on the area and began barking. The suspect stood up several feet from the officers and gave up with without any aggression, or combative behavior towards officers.
Often, Lola's mere presence was enough to cause the most violent offender to become passive and submit to officers without violence.
Conversely, Lola's presence in front of the 5th grade students of the department's DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program elicited smiles and curiosity.
Lola would demonstrate for the kids how she would search for drugs, and show how well trained she is at obedience.
Lola will retire to Officer Marc Heinmiller's home, and live out her days enjoying her family there.
The Police Department recognizes the importance of having a Patrol Dog for the town of Westport, and quickly wants to get a new dog up and running.
The Westport Police K-9 Unit is primarily run off donations from the community, and would not be in existence if it were not for the generous support of a number of benefactors.
Even with the support we are getting, we still need more help.
The costs associated with the purchase of a new police dog can be close to $10,000.
The WPD K9 unit had set fundraising goals to pay for the new dog, as well as new equipment to protect the investment.
They are asking for the community's help to meet these goals.
For more information on the WPD K9 Unit please visit http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=404.
They are now in the process of looking at dogs for selection and training.
These dogs are bred for police work, and come with some amount of training already.
The only thing they do not come with is a name.
For the first time, the police department is inviting the youngsters of the community to come up with a name for the new police dog.
"Name drop boxes" will be placed at Earth Animal, 606 Post Road East (across from fresh market), and the Westport Police Department Lobby.
Please submit one male name, and one female name in the box.
If your name is chosen, you and the police dog will have your picture professionally taken together, and framed.
One picture will be provided to you, and one will be hung inside the Westport Police Department.
You will also receive a certificate from the Chief of Police.
If you wish to support the K9 Unit, please make your donations to:
The Westport Police K9 Unit
50 Jesup Rd
Westport CT, 06880
Get Eyewitness News Delivered