Flint Dog gone Officer and his K-9 retire

By Roberto Acosta

The Flint Journal

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- Sergeant David Stone recalls one cold winter night in December 2005 trudging through a snow-covered graveyard.

"It's the one I remember the most, and it didn't have to do with any crimes or anything," said Stone. "The officer found a vehicle up off Pasadena. He started following a trail and working the cemetery area."

Stone and his K-9 partner Ken found a man in his 80s, lying in the snow disoriented but alive in the Flint Cemetery.

"The doctor said he would have died if we hadn't have found him," Stone said. "I will always remember that."

Police Chief George Sippert pointed at Stone's love for his job that prompted him to work with a K-9 unit the last decade of a 25-year career with the Flint Township Police Department.

"I think the K-9 program was very important to Sgt. Stone. It takes a lot of time and effort put into it," said Sippert. "Being a K-9 handler is a job he really loved."

Stone retired Dec. 30 and his companion of two-and-a-half years, Bac, followed him into retirement at five years old.

Township officials agreed to the exchange of Bac into Stone's property contingent on taking responsibility for providing food, lodging and medical care at his expense.

Stone's interest in working with a K-9 came when one of his friends in the Flint Police Department talked about having a partner.

The new partnership included extra work, including weekly training in tracking for drugs, through buildings, and obedience courses, while assisting neighboring departments.

"Having a K-9 unit is not an eight hour a day job," said Stone. "It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Stone began with Ken in 2000.

While Ken was put down in 2006 after contracting degenerative myelopathy, Bac rode home with Stone on their last day.

Stone has no immediate plans after retiring other than continuing his woodworking hobby of building furniture and rocking horses while doing "anything my wife tells me to do" on a lengthy honey-do list.

While Stone and his wife call Bac "psycho dog" when at home, a bond has been built that can't be broken now.

"He's part of the family. When you are with him as much as we are together, you become attached," said Stone. Letting go of the job may be even tougher.

"There's a variety of issues," he said for choosing to leave, including staffing and budget cuts to the department.

Published: Thu, Jan 6, 2011

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