WARETOWN, NJ – Township officials approved a veteran Ocean Township police officer’s retirement last week. It represents the end to a successful career in sniffing out crime.
Kaver, a Belgian Malinois patrol dog, joined the Ocean Township Police Department in 2011 at just eleven months old. His retirement this month equates to approximately 60 dog years of service to the community.
The four-legged K9 officer will spend his golden years with Sgt. James J. Cappaccio, his handler, and their family. A smart and agile dog, Kaver leaves Ocean Township Police with a legacy of achievement in law enforcement.
Cappaccio himself joined the local police department in 2007 and became interested in the K9 unit when another handler retired. Then a patrol officer, Cappaccio, was heavily involved in narcotics investigations and arrests.
Fundraising covered Kaver’s $8,000 purchase from American K-9 Interdiction, which traditionally supplied dogs to the military. The fawn-colored black-masked pup immediately responded to his handler.
During their first year together, Cappaccio and Kaver entered a competition offered to United States Police Canine Association members.
“The Association sets rigorous criteria and scores participants,” said Cappaccio. “We took first place in Region 15 during our first year of training.”
According to Cappaccio, judges review the canine’s agility, performance of article searches, and apprehension work. Kaver finished year after year as one of the top dogs. His training and skills transferred to actual police work.
“When Clayton Block was burglarized a few years ago, Kaver tracked the subjects back to their vehicle,” Cappaccio recalled. “They ditched a $4K generator stolen from the company’s showroom, which was recovered.”
Up until now, Kaver was one of two patrol K9s assigned to the Ocean Township Police Department. The other, Remmi, is a German Shephard.
“Both are certified for patrol work, including building searches, article searches, criminal apprehensions and narcotics.” Cappaccio shared. “Kaver was responsible multiple successful apprehensions of criminal suspects and many narcotics seizures.”
The retiring pup and his handler have also showcased their skills at a Doggie Derby in Forked River. A local pet food supplier set up the demonstrations after establishing relationships with the two.
“We were lucky to meet Tony Caporale, who owns Caporale Pet Supplies,” Cappaccio explained. “He has been quite generous to our K9 unit and other ones in Ocean County.”
“Tony has us visit the facility and helps set our dogs up with a healthy blend of food,” continued Cappaccio. “He donates 1-2 bags of dog food a month to us.”
The decision to retire Kaver came with a number of considerations. The normal age of retirement for a working dog is between 9 and 10. The canine’s health is critical.
Kaver showed his own signs that he was ready to retire with dignity. He began to slow down and showed evidence that he was sore after training exercises. The four-legged officer was also taking a little longer to get out of bed.
“It’s a fair time to retire him,” said Cappaccio. “He’s provided a great service.”
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