Newtown, Connecticut’s newest K-9 Officer ‘Saint Michael’, a two-year-old German Shepherd Dog, was sworn in today during a ceremony to pay tribute to the Newtown Police Department’s recently deceased K-9 officer ‘Baro’ at the Newtown Municipal Center. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, which stretched Newtown’s resources, and the unexpected early retirement and passing of Baro in June, Newtown was faced with not having a working police dog among its ranks. Baro, who directly responded to Sandy Hook, was missed greatly by law enforcement and the community.
Today’s ceremony began with Baro’s Last Ride, a K-9 Patrol vehicle procession led by Newtown K-9 handler Officer Felicia Figol and Officer Matt Hayes, and escorted by more than 30 K-9 units from around the state. With Baro’s ashes and the newly acquired Saint Michael in Newtown’s K-9 patrol vehicle, the procession left Edmund Town Hall and slowly made its way down historic Main Street past police headquarters, where Baro proudly served for eight years, on its way to the Newtown Municipal Center. The Newtown Honor Guard was part of the ceremony, which included a moment of silence, personal remembrances and the final roll call for Baro. Chief of Police Michael Kehoe then introduced speakers from the AKC community, followed by the swearing in by the town clerk of Saint Michael, the newest K-9 officer of the Newtown Police Department.
The new police dog’s purchase and training was made possible by $14,250 in donations and grants from the American Kennel Club community of non-profit affiliates AKC Reunite and the AKC Humane Fund; AKC member clubs, Trap Falls Kennel Club, Newtown Kennel Club, and Farmington Kennel Club, as well as delegates and local residents.