Wareham Police Department temporarily suspends K-9 program

By Meghan Neely | May 26, 2018
Courtesy of: Wareham Police Department K-9 Rolf is set to retire after eight years of service with the Wareham Police Department.

The Wareham Police Department’s K-9 program is set to be suspended for the foreseeable future, according to Acting Police Chief John Walcek.

“It was a very difficult decision for us to make,” Walcek said. “But I feel that it really is in the best interest of the town and our department.”

Wareham’s current K-9 unit consists of Officer Mike Phinney and German Sheperd Rolf. The two recently assisted in the arrest of Ron Goodrich, who ran from police after committing a traffic violation at the corner of High Street on May 3.

“Mike Phinney is one of the best handlers out there,” Walcek said. “And Rolf has been a valuable member of this department.”

At nine years old, however, Walcek said that it’s unfair to continue putting Rolf on patrol.

“We’d hate to see something happen to him,” Walcek said. “So really, this is just Rolf retiring."

Rolf’s last day with the department is set for July 1. Walcek said that Phinney will then have top priority for Rolf's adoption.

"I can't imagine these two not sticking together," Walcek said.

The department had previously been offered money for a new dog, but the training required would take an officer out of work for up to 16 weeks.

“I can’t afford to lose an officer for that long,” Walcek said. “Summer is a really busy time of year for us, and we just don’t have the resources. Fiscally and physically, a new dog just isn’t feasible right now.”

Walcek said that the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office will be sending K-9 officers to Wareham as needed for the time being.

“It’s a temporary situation,” Walcek said. “I really do want there to be dogs at this department.”

Comments (19)
Posted by: Bluebell3333 | May 27, 2018 09:30

Well now Wareham has hit a new all time low. Just when we thought there were no more services to cut they found one.

This town now has about every single tax paying business you can get in a town yet we are flat busted broke.

My relatives in Bourne complain they have no businesses yet they currently have a brand new school being built, a brand new police station being built, they are in the process of securing a spot for a new fire station. Just this week they opened what is probably the most outstanding new park complete with playground, Pavillion, Gazebo and even an awesome splash pad. Down the street from there is a wonderful all inclusive playground suitable for use by folks with just about any physical handicap. Bourne has free town trash pickup and single stream curbside recycling.they are in the process of building a new dog park. Two beaches have brand new boat ramps. I could go on and on.

Wareham is a frigging mess. We have to call out of town to bring a dog to chase down a criminal. That's tops in inefficiency.

Posted by: noseyrich | May 28, 2018 08:55

I wonder if Wareham has more than it's hare of people / families that are on some form of public assistance. Seeing the hundreds of million dollar budgets passed I can't get it straight in my head why we are so broke. Bluebell3333 i right on.

Posted by: Uptohere | May 28, 2018 09:58

II don' know how other towns do it but raising taxes won' help our issue when more then have our budget goes to the school system. I know, what' the hell that' a taboo subject. You can' bring up that over 60% of the money goes there.  It' for the children you monster!!! Oh my!!!

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | May 28, 2018 10:32

WAREHAM isn’t BROKE    WAREHAM IS MISMANAGED...  anyone here ever hear of the City of CHELSEA and RECEIVERSHIP?  Enough is enough....

Posted by: Andrea Smith | May 28, 2018 10:44

I'd love to know how many canine assisted arrests have occurred within the last year? Also, was Rolf trained to sniff out drugs?


I can understand the dilemma of being short staffed for the summer, but couldn't priority be given to replacing Rolf and scheduling the class time necessary for the officer training with a new dog after the summer season has passed?

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 28, 2018 13:23

Can someone advise or post a link to the public records that show the town's financials?  It seems like "money in" should be stronger so "money out" shouldn't be such an issue.  Wareham has it's residential tax base like many other surrounding towns.  However Wareham also has much more commercial and industry than surrounding towns.  Where does it all go?


Oh yea, speaking of it all supposedly going to the schools.  Maybe it does? But if that were the case, why are the schools so poor as well?


If Wareham was a bucket, I'd say that there was a big hole in it.  Something doesn't seem to add up...

Posted by: Andrea Smith | May 28, 2018 15:11

WBTS - I think the link at the bottom of my comment will provide the information you are seeking. I found it by going to Town of Wareham Official Website, clicking on departments, then accounting, then financial reports (blue box on left). Selecting Financial Reports from the blue box instead of selecting the 2017 specific Financial reports gives you an option of viewing financials from 2017 as well as from several prior years. If time allows, I suggest reading the 2017 Financial Management Letter as well as the 2017 financial statements as the Management Letter presents an overview of accounting practices within the town.


I also suggest browsing the 2014 Financial Management Letter, beginning with "Other," page 7, and moving forward through page 21. It's a lot of material, but even a browse through will give you a picture of what were (at least in my opinion) some very financially concerning times for the town.


Then browse the 2017 Financial Management Letter beginning with "Prior Year Comments," page 4, I think you'll see that although there are still some concerns, there has been a vast improvement in accounting practices.


(As an aside, I'm a little curious as to why the 2012 Financial Management Letter is not available.)



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 28, 2018 19:36

Thanks Andrea, looks like I've got some homework!  I'll give it a look to see what I can come up with.  Then again, if it's anything like WFD's presented financials from the April meeting, I may end up with more questions than I started with.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | May 29, 2018 07:51

Wow now i see how many can read the same thing and come up with different conclusions. The Chief is temporarily suspending the program, they have received an offer to pay for a new dog, and to take one of their top cops out of service for 16 weeks, at the start of summer season seems irresponsible to him. So from what i read he is going to reinstate the program adter the summer. And in the meanwhile if they need a dog officer they will borrow one. Just as i am sure we have done the same for the sheriff's department and other towns. Thanks to Mike and Rolf for their nine years of service together. I have family out of State that is a K9 trainer and officer. They are a special breed of dog. He got to keep his when it retired, so i hope Mike gets to keep Rolf.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | May 29, 2018 07:59

When you read those documents pay particular attention to retirement benefits and services. I wish the TA would add a column for State and Federal Mandated Unfunded Liabilities to the documents. Then you would see the large sums of money we pay for past services and programs we have to pay for and do not get any reimbursement. Dick Paulson has penned many comments on this whole that we pour large sums of money into every year. And with each contract negotiated that mumber continues to grow. Since you bring up Bourne go to their website and get their documents to compare apples to apples.

Posted by: dphin | May 29, 2018 17:23

Good luck

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | May 29, 2018 17:46

Mr.Holmes . Poor MANAGEMENT is the cause of all this . BTW weren’t  you a Selectmen? I guess you are partly to blame . RECEIVERSHIP, I highly recommend it ....

Posted by: cranky pants | May 29, 2018 19:03

I got an idea...

Have the town borrow those two dogs that are from Papermill road area.. they seem to be pretty good at being aggressive.

Posted by: Rosebud | May 30, 2018 09:34

I, too, am curious as to “Rolph’s” track record in assisted arrests.

I would also like to suggest that if we can use the Sheriff’s Dept. Canine resources (of which I believe Wareham pays for anyway), then why not do so on a permanent basis.

FYI, I think the Wareham P.D. has done s very good job in the past few years.

Posted by: Swifts_Sheriff | May 30, 2018 10:04

ROSIE , I bet there is a longer response time for the Plymouth dog. That’s why you don’t use the Plymouth . Wareham has the money it’s just spent foolishly

Posted by: cranky pants | May 31, 2018 09:35

We don't need dogs, we got motorcycles.

( go ahead, someone chime in and tell me it's not coming from the same pockets )

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 31, 2018 09:55

Speaking of the dogs from Papermill.  That was a fairly significant event that I'm sure many want an update on.  Last report stated a mere slap on the wrist, 10 day inhouse quarantine for the dogs and the possibility of charges against the owner.  10 days are up.  I'll bet no charges have been filed and I'll bet that she's back to walking her unleashed dangerous dogs around the bog like nothing ever happened.  All while the poor victim heals and has permanent scars to remember what the irresponsible dog owner did.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | May 31, 2018 12:25

There are so many heavily wooded areas for those running from the police to disappear into. What a shame, no dog to help with the foot chase.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | May 31, 2018 15:46

If I were a criminal and I was deciding to make a run for it, I'd consider the likelihood and the ramifications of getting caught.  If I knew that an officer will be chasing me, I'd have a better chance of getting away.  The officer is trained and all but still just a human.  If I knew an amazingly fast K-9 with incredible sense of smell, and big sharp teeth may be chasing me, I may think twice!  Then, if caught, the officer will need to abide by protocol and treat me a certain way.  The dog, on the other hand, is a dog.  He can get away with a little more forcefulness...ya know.  Often those caught by K-9 have a little more discomfort than tight handcuffs...ya know.


Not having our own K-9, ready to go, on our force is a disadvantage.  Borrowing one from Plymouth County takes too long.


Where was the foresight as Rolf approached retirement age?  I understand the 16 week training period and how summer is a bad time to be without an officer (As acting Chief Walcek explained).  Why didn't they realize that in the fall?  They could have got the replacement K-9 then and done the training over the winter.  Am I missing something?



If you wish to comment, please login.