Gurnee's German shepherd crime fighter is calling it a career.
Police dog Shane, who's been on the force since 2006, will walk away after working a special Memorial Day weekend safety checkpoint Friday.
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His law-enforcement achievements include top-three medals from competitions with other police dogs, drug searches and leading cops to criminal suspects.
Shane's handler, Officer Philip Mazur, said it's time for his 9-year-old partner to retire given the heavy physical demands of the job. He said the animal's eight years of service have been a good return on investment for Gurnee residents.
"He earned his keep here," Mazur said. "I couldn't have been prouder with the way he performed."
Unlike human cops, Shane won't get a government pension in retirement. Instead, his reward will be an easier life as a family pet in Mazur's house.
Mazur and Shane, who earned his medals for excelling in Illinois Regional Canine Olympics events, have had plenty of action in their eight years on the job together. They not only worked on crimes and made public appearances in Gurnee, but also were part of regional cases.
Shane was cross-trained in patrol and narcotics details, later adding cadaver search abilities to his repertoire.
Last October, Shane and Mazur were on a regional canine team that found the body of a 33-year-old Lake Villa man near a Vernon Hills apartment complex. The man, who authorities said died from apparent self-inflicted knife wounds, had been missing for two weeks.
In 2012, Shane and Mazur helped search a laundry room during a surprise drug and weapons sweep of the Lake County jail. They also were summoned in 2008 to assist authorities after the Air Angels medical helicopter crash in Aurora, which killed three adults and a 1-year-old girl.
Shane's off-the-charts olfactory ability was evident in 2011, when he and Mazur traveled more than a mile to link a wallet and other items to a car burglary suspect captured by another village officer. Shane tracked a scent from Gages Lake Road to Route 21 near the Tri-State Tollway.
Mazur said while Shane waits by the back door of his home every morning to go to work, he knows his partner well enough that he can tell the dog wouldn't mind relaxing. Mazur said the canine has been remarkably healthy over his police career, but the aches of old age are setting in.
"I don't think his body can keep up with what he wants to do any more," Mazur said.
Gurnee police intend to continue the canine unit, with Mazur receiving a new dog and remaining in that capacity. Police Chief Kevin Woodside is expected to announce next month details about how the new canine patrol will operate.
"Shane and officer Mazur have been a great team and an invaluable asset to the Gurnee Police Department for the last eight years," Woodside said. "While it is hard to see that partnership ending, I am looking forward to Officer Mazur and his new canine partner picking up right where Shane left off. It is also heartening to know that Shane will remain a member of the Mazur family in his retirement."
Libertyville's private D.A.S. Charitable Foundation donated $10,200 for the purchase and training of Shane in 2006. The German shepherd was trained at TOPS Canine Complex in Grayslake.