Service Dog “Lola” from its ranks. Lola is an all-black German Shepherd, and is trained in patrol
work, tracking, and narcotic detection. After 10 years of service, and over 1000 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.

Dr. Joan Poster of Poster Animal Hospital has been providing all medical care, preventatives,
medications, vaccines, etc… for the police dogs at no charge. She works with others,
including Bill Mitchell from “Mitchells of Westport,” to make sure all the food costs
associated with the Police Dogs is at no cost as well.
Joy Dunlop, from The Hazel – Dell foundation had been a longtime supporter of our unit
until her passing recently. Her annual donations helped get equipment and training for the
Unit.  John Mancinelli from Earth Animal of Westport has spearheaded our fundraising program
this year.

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. We are asking
for the community’s help to meet these goals. For more information on the WPD K9 Unit go to Look for Specialized Units under the police department page.

We 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, we are inviting the youngsters of our 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

By Stephen Krauchick

DoingItLocal is run by Steve Krauchick. Steve has always had interest with breaking news even as an early teen, opting to listen to the Watergate hearings instead of top 40 on the radio. His interest in news spread to become the communities breaking news leader in Connecticut’s Fairfield County. He strongly believes that the public has right to know what is happening in their backyard and that government needs to be transparent. Steve also likes promoting local businesses.

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