'I feel like I just started yesterday': Retiring Mundelein cop, canine lauded by mayor and board
A veteran Mundelein police officer and the four-legged half of the department's canine team are retiring.
Officer Kathleen "Katie" Smith is leaving the department May 5 after 25 years of service. Titan the German shepherd is heading to retirement after about seven years on the job.
Smith and Titan were publicly lauded by Mayor Steve Lentz, village trustees, staffers and audience members during Monday night's board meeting. Lentz read proclamations honoring both of them and then gave framed copies of the documents to Smith and to Titan's longtime partner, Sgt. Steven Kroll.
A Mundelein High School graduate, Smith spent her entire law enforcement career in Mundelein. She joined the department as a patrol officer in 1997 and eventually became a field training officer, teaching most of the department's current officers how to do the job, Chief John Monahan said.
"She has always been a role model for other officers," Monahan said before the meeting.
Smith also worked in the investigations unit, as a crime prevention officer, with the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group and in other roles.
The years went by fast for Smith.
"I feel like I just started yesterday," she said.
Smith said she'll miss the job and the people she got to know doing it.
"That's what's so great about this job," Smith said earlier in the day. "You don't know what you're going to run into or who you're going to meet."
Titan is retiring because Kroll was promoted to sergeant April 3 and no longer will be Mundelein's canine officer. As often is the case for retired police dogs, Titan will remain in Kroll's care.
Born in 2013, Titan was trained at TOPS Kennel in Grayslake and joined the department in 2015. Titan and Kroll assisted in drug cases, searches and in other law-enforcement roles.
Over the course of his career, Titan helped police find 40 illegal guns, more than 460 grams of cocaine, more than 144 grams of methamphetamine, more than 87 grams of heroin and more than 10 kilograms of illegal cannabis products, among other contraband, Lentz said.
But Titan also was part of the department's community relations mission. He and Kroll teamed for demonstrations to groups and businesses and at community events.
Titan also was an ever-popular element of the department's citizen police academies.
"Titan's presentations always were the favorite," Monahan said.
Kroll formally was sworn in as a sergeant during Monday's meeting, too.
Monahan hopes to have a new canine team in place this fall.