BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Buffalo Police Department K-9 Officer "Shield" will head off into retirement with a familiar face.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron C. Lockwood has asked the Buffalo Common Council to approve a "transfer of departmental property" which would allow Shield to be sold to his handler Officer Matthew Richards for one dollar.
"It's exciting," Officer Richards tells 7 News. "He's been a great partner for the last four years. I couldn't ask for a better dog. He's great at what he does."
Shield, an 8-year-old German Shepherd, joined the Buffalo Police Department in 2016. The department says that as a team Shield and Officer Richards assisted patrol on hundreds of calls of service. Officer Richards says the two formed quite the bond a long the way. "It's almost like a best friend. You talk to him. It's weird talking to a dog, but they really are like a best friend to you"
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen told 7 News that he "would support" the request to transfer Shield to Officer Richards and believes "the majority of the council" would support the transfer of Shield as well.
Officer Richards became the handler for "Shield" in 2018 after the death of Lt. Craig Lehner. Lehner was Shield's original handler, but tragically died in 2017 in the Niagara River during a training exercise.
Officer Richards says it's a privilege to have worked with "Shield" as a dog that represents the Buffalo Police Department and the entire community. "Huge honor. I think I did my best with him at work and will do my best to keep him happy and healthy at home too."
Once the request from the Buffalo Police Department is formally approved by the Common Council Officer Richards will "maintain full responsibility" for Shield.
"It's nice to be able to bring him home and let him live out his days as a dog"