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Officer moves on without K-9

May 08, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - When Kevin Morgan joined the Boonsboro Police Department in December, he was to be the first K-9 officer on the four-man force.

But shortly after coming on board, Morgan's K-9 partner of six years, Sabrina, was diagnosed with cancer and died April 10.

"I got her in 2000," Morgan said. Then a 3-year-old, the mostly black German Shepherd quickly became a member of Morgan's family, as well as his partner.

Sabrina was with Morgan while he was a Washington County Sheriff's deputy, as well as during a stint with the Narcotics Task Force.

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"I was the first to have a dog with the NTF," he said.

The pair also visited a lot of schools and Sabrina was always a big hit with children.

"I got a lot of letters from kids about Sabrina," Morgan said.

Sabrina's last working day was April 5 and she was effective to the end, Morgan said.

"She alerted on a car and we found drugs," he said.

Whether or not he gets another dog is still being considered. For now, Morgan said it is too soon to think about trying to replace Sabrina.

Morgan joins Boonsboro Police Chief Jeff Hewett, and fellow officers Tom Simmons and Charlie Stanford.

"Between the four of us, we have more than 100 years of police experience," Hewett said.

Hewett said he is glad to have Morgan aboard. After five years as a resident deputy in Boonsboro, Hewett became chief of the newly formed town police force in July 2005.

"There was a police force in Boonsboro in the 1940s and 1950s, but it was disbanded in 1979," Hewett said.

At first, the town went to the Maryland State Police for resident troopers. Gene Gross, Fred Hartley and Russ Plante all took a turn at the position.

Then in the 1990s, the town went to resident deputies, Hewett said. There were several of those before Hewett - a former trooper and deputy - came on board.

Morgan's experience in law enforcement began rather coincidentally in 1982 when he learned of an opening at the Brunswick (Md.) Police Department from his brother.

"I was tired of working construction," Morgan said. "Jeff (Morgan) was working at the Brunswick Police Department. We were together there for about a year."

Then Jeff Morgan went on to Hagerstown City Police and his brother signed up with the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Now that he is with the Boonsboro Police, Morgan said he is enjoying the change of pace.

"I also take care of a farm near Sharpsburg as groundskeeper," he said.

Born and raised in the Boonsboro area, Morgan graduated from Boonsboro High School in 1979. He was a graduate of the 10th class of the Western Maryland Police Academy.

"I'm tickled to death to be here," Morgan said. "All of these men are good to work with - between the four of us, there's nothing we haven't seen."

In the department's four vehicles, officers patrol the town, answer calls, and assist state and county police when needed.

"We also have mutual aid with Hancock and Smithsburg police," Hewett said.

The Boonsboro Police Department hours are 6 a.m. to 2 or 3 a.m. Off hours are covered by the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The police department office is at 37 Park Drive next to the community building.

For more information, call 301-432-6838.

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