LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – K-9 Kai of the Longmeadow Police Department officially retired Monday morning after seven years of public service.

It was a bitter sweet moment for Sgt. Amanda Vanbuskirk as she called in Kai for one last time
on the radio, “Kai’s been my partner for the last seven years and we’ve had a long journey together and it’s going to be hard not to have him in the back with me everyday, but I’m happy for him, that he gets to enjoy his retirement while he’s still happy and healthy.”

On his final day at the department, a fake track was set up for him that lead him to a bunch of gifts and toys.

“We’ve had a lot of really good finds, from fishing suspects to missing people, evidence after five days of it being out in the elements, a lot of narcotics. He’s done a lot of great stuff for this town,” said Sgt. Vanbuskirk.

K-9 Kai was a beloved police dog in Longmeadow. He was trained in patrol and narcotics. He assisted in a variety of tasks from finding people to evidence and helping conduct area searches.

A new police dog has been preparing to step up. K-9 Reuben has completed his schooling and is now certified to begin working for the Longmeadow Police Department (LPD), according to a Facebook post by the LPD. The one-and-a-half-year-old pup’s official first day will be this Thursday. Sgt. Vanbuskirk says K-9 Reuben has big paws to fill.

K-9 Reuben (L) & K-9 Kai (R) (Longmeadow Police Department)

Police dogs serve an important role when it comes to public safety, and they not only form strong bonds with their partners but also with the communities they serve. From assisting in criminal investigations, to search and rescue operations, these four-legged friends are a crucial part of local law enforcement teams.

“It’s just the comfort of having him in the back, you know. He’s always got my back since day one. When he was an escape artist out of his kennel to try and stay with me, to just even today, just everywhere I go he follows me, so it’s just that bond that we have that’s going to be hard to replace,” said Sgt. Vanbuskirk.