After eight and a half years of service, a Pennsylvania K-9 named Rex is hanging up his leash, having apprehended over 100 suspects and seized hundreds of pounds of marijuana, cocaine, meth, and heroin.
Rex most recently assisted in the search for convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante, who was apprehended after escaping from the Chester County Prison on August 31.
“We’ve been able to assist in cases … all over the place and catch some very serious criminals, which I take a lot of pride in,” Cpl. Chad Miller of the Lower Paxton Township Police Department told Fox News Digital.
Milelr went on, “One dog enhances all the abilities of the police department, whether it’s crime prevention, criminal apprehension, drug interdiction.”
He added, “It’s crazy how much it adds to our ability to do our job.”
Rex, the 912-year-old German Shepherd that participated in 110 apprehensions, 107 tracks, 51 building searches, 43 article searches, 43 school narcotics searches, and five prison narcotics searches, was officially retired last month.
“Rex has been a great member of the force and has valiantly kept our community and his brother and sister officers safe,” said Lowman Henry, chairman of the Lower Paxton Township supervisors.
“We also want to thank Cpl. Miller for doing a great job in training Rex and look forward to seeing him working with our new police K-9, named Six.”
Rex also assisted in the seizure of 316 pounds of marijuana, 100 marijuana plants, and 200 THC vape cartridges, 70.68 pounds of cocaine, two pounds of methamphetamine, and 1.2 pounds of heroin.
Throughout his tenure, he also seized $271,647 in currency and recovered 61 guns.
Miller and Rex worked together on the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force.
Rex returned home after the ceremony to live the easy life with Miller, his handler throughout his career.
“Rex absolutely loved doing that stuff,” Miller said. “I loved working with him and he loved to work.”
Rex most recently assisted in the search for convicted killer Danelo Cavalcante, who was apprehended after escaping from the Chester County Prison at the end of August.
Miller stated that his unit and some members of the SWAT team were clearing areas covered in undergrowth with Rex by their sides as Cavalcante was apprehended after a two-week manhunt that caused school closures and put residents on edge.
“A dog works a lot quicker and more efficiently than people,” said Miller.
“People are looking with their eyes and aren’t necessarily using all their senses. The dog is usually using their sense of smell first and then everything else afterwards. So we were able to help those guys out and do our part.”
Rex also had a role in apprehending four guys who robbed an Ulta Beauty last year, leading police on a car chase until the suspects lost control and crashed.
“We ended up breaking the windows and put Rex through the driver’s window,” Miller said.
“The rest of them got out of the vehicle immediately. Unfortunately, the driver took the brunt of it. Once it was all said and done, we had four suspects for robbery in custody, plus almost $50,000 of merchandise they had in a car. They had stolen a ton of perfume and cologne from Ulta.”
Miller joined the force in 2004 after serving in the United States Navy, and he was instrumental in bringing a K-9 squad to the agency.
“When I sold it to the board, I said if we save the life of one person through the seizure of illegal drugs, it’s paid itself in full. It doesn’t even come close to human life,” he said.
Rex was the department’s first police K-9 since the 1970s, according to Miller.
“He was the first dog I saw and we had an immediate connection,” Miller said, adding that Rex was just a year old at the time.
Miller and Rex attended a K-9 training academy for roughly six weeks. They worked from early morning till 8 or 9 p.m. five days a week.
Rex finished with honours and is now a certified K-9 police dog. He immediately got to work.
“The first track Rex did still makes me laugh,” Miller said. “We got called to a vehicle pursuit and the guy had fled from his vehicle into the woods.”
Miller claimed he put Rex on the course and he performed “phenomenally,” leading officers to a densely forested area.
“I start giving [the suspect] the K-9 warnings, which is, ‘Police K-9. Come out now,’ Miller said.
“I hear this faint voice say, ‘I’m coming out.’ The guy comes out and he’s got one hand up and he’s got one hand covering himself. He was completely naked. He wouldn’t tell us why he was naked. It was just so weird.”
Police K-9s are trained to bite, according to Miller. The handler issues a warning and allows the suspect to surrender.
“For violent serious people who put officers in jeopardy, we use the dogs as an apprehension tool,” Miller said.
“I think out of the 110 people who had the potential to be bitten, 99 gave up,” he added. “Unfortunately, the others chose the alternative method.”
Most police K-9s live at home with their handlers, and Miller described Rex’s at-home training as a family affair.
Miller’s wife, Corrie, and their three children, Ethan, Madyson, and Emma Miller, are now 22, 16, and 11 years old, respectively.
“It’s kind of a running joke,” Miller said. “My family helped build our team because I would have my wife out doing tracks and it didn’t even matter the weather. I’d send her out where it was wet and we’d track to her.”
He added, “The kids would constantly play with [Rex] and play tracks. I remember my son hiding in a tree one time for us. It was a family effort.”
Rex, according to Miller, is settling into his new job at home.
“He still looks outside the window and he’ll see me getting out with the new dog,” Miller said.
“He doesn’t bark at us, but I can tell he’s a little bit like, ‘How dare you.’ You know, he just gives you that look. When I get dressed for work, and he’s not going, he’s like, ‘I can’t believe you.’”
The new K-9 is an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois named “Six” for the military term “watching your six,’’ which means watching your buddy’s back.
“It’s gonna be a firearms detection and patrol dog,” Miller said. “Recently [we’ve had] gun issues, shootings, that type of thing. So he’s been brought aboard to kind of help deter that and help locate illegal firearms and, after shootings, maybe [find] spent casings.”
Lower Paxton Township presently has three patrol K-9s and one accelerant detection dog.