Beloved San Leandro police K-9 retires, credited for helping to keep community safe

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With fanfare and expressions of gratitude, the San Leandro Police Department held a ceremony and celebration to sent off one of its own into retirement life.

Its K-9 named Waylon has been a trusted and loyal partner to Officer Joey Bacon for three and a half years.

On Wednesday, Officer Bacon, members of the police department, as well as other city officials all gathered at the station to say farewell and thank you to Waylon for his service.

They lined the parking lot where the ceremony was held and paid tribute to the dog, who was lavished with treats and given lots of love.  

City leaders had a special placard resembling a street sign to present to Officer Bacon. The sign read "Waylon's Way," with the years 2016-2019 printed on top.

The beloved German Shepherd was born in Livermore and came to the department in 2016, after completing a five-week basic handler's course. He was certified to do patrol work as well as assist in narcotics detection.

During his time alongside Officer Bacon, police officials said Waylon played an integral role in helping to protect the community.

"Waylon was responsible for helping us apprehend dangerous and violent suspects, finding articles of evidence, and taking illegal drugs off the streets," wrote the San Leandro Police K9 Association on Facebook last Wednesday. 

In May, he was recognized for his police skills, coming in 4th place in the category of patrol area search at a competition in Yuba City involving 22 K-9 teams.

Police said the decision to retire Waylon came after the dog and Officer Waylon successfully fulfilled their contractual agreement with the handler, to serve a minimum of three years in the field. 

K-9s can typically serve for four to eight years, according to Cheryl Walsh, president of the Seam M. Walsh K9 Memorial Foundation, which provided the grant that helped the San Leandro Police Department acquire Waylon. 

"It's a high stress job, and that's why they do have a certain amount of time in the field," Walsh explained. 

Now Waylon will be living out his years as a household pet to Officer Bacon and his family, and he can expect some well-deserved star treatment in the days ahead. "K-9 Waylon is looking forward to his retirement, long naps, steak dinners and lots of puppy play dates," the police department said.

It's clear though, that the dog will be dearly missed by those with whom he served. 

"Thank you for your service and for keeping us and our citizens safe," police officials said. The department added, "We will always remember it is 'Waylon's Way.'"