Retired Wheeling police dog Alf died Monday at the age of 14.
Sgt. Rick Roxby said Alf, a German shepherd, was one of the first two canines put into service in 2003 when the K-9 program began. He remained on active duty until 2010 when he transitioned into the role of the Roxby family pet.
"He was one of those rare police dogs who could do police work but was good with kids," Roxby said. "When he retired, he made the transition from police dog to pet."
Wheeling police dog Alf attends a neighborhood crime watch meeting in 2007 with his handler, Sgt. Rick Roxby.
Alf worked with three handlers during his career. He started with officer Ralph James, who left Wheeling for another department; Kenny Wallace, who had him for about a year; and finally, Roxby who took him into retirement.
"He died of natural cause," Roxby said. "Not long ago, his back legs quit working for him."
Alf earned several certifications, including a national one from the North American Police Working Dog Association.
"He was a dual-purpose patrol dog," Roxby said. "He was certified in West Virginia as a tracking dog to track fleeing suspects and in apprehension to control a suspect not yet taken into custody."
Alf was certified for article searches, and was narcotics certified to do drug work looking for marijuana, heroin, cocaine and MDMA. He worked with the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Roxby said.
Alf also did highway searches on commercial vehicles and participated in many school demonstrations, including the D.A.R.E program.
Roxby said Alf was cremated and his remains will be kept at the Roxby home. He said Freddie, the other dog who joined the force with Alf and worked for retired officer Russell Fehr, died two or three years ago.