Wauconda's retiring police dog honored for decade of service
Wauconda officials and residents celebrated the retirement of Maxx the police dog Tuesday, honoring him and his handler, Sgt. John S. Combs Jr., during the evening's board meeting.
With officers from the village's police force and other departments helping to fill the boardroom for the occasion, the veteran partners received accolades from Mayor Frank Bart and Police Chief Patrick Yost and a standing ovation from an appreciative audience.
In reading a proclamation honoring Maxx, Bart thanked the 11-year-old German shepherd for faithfully serving the department since 2004. He also wished Maxx a "peaceful, well-deserved retirement."
Maxx's career included many law-enforcement highlights, and some of them were described during Tuesday's presentation.
Maxx chased and apprehended a robbery suspect, found a loaded gun that was buried under leaves by gang members and discovered a marijuana-growing operation hidden in a house. He also educated and entertained children and adults at schools and various public events.
The appearances have made Maxx something of a local celebrity.
"I can drive down the road and people will call out Maxx's name, but they won't know who I am," Combs told the crowd Tuesday.
Combs thanked the trustees, his fellow dog handlers and officers, his family and the community for their support.
"This was a community thing," Combs said. "This was a community project from the beginning."
He played a short video depicting Maxx's time on the force for the crowd, too. Combs' wife, Bethany, created the humorous video.
Maxx will spend retirement living with Combs and his family. Yost gave Combs the dog's ownership paperwork Tuesday.
Yost then gave Maxx a badge identifying him as a retired police officer, clipping it to his collar.
Yost also gave Combs a meritorious service award for the work he's done with Maxx during the last 10 years, as well as a plaque celebrating their decade of service.
Combs is staying on the force.
A German shepherd named Varro is the department's new police dog. Varro has been on the job since November, partenring with officer Keith Ringham.