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Hero Down: Appleton Police K9 Waskos Dies From Medical Condition

Appleton, WI – Appleton Police Department (APD) K9 Waskos died on June 4 due to an acute medical condition, according to his department.

His exact cause of death was not released.

APD Captain Gary Lewis said K9 Waskos had a clean bill of health until the medical emergency arose, WTAQ reported.

“This was a sudden, acute medical issue. This was not expected,” Capt. Lewis said. “We knew he was going to get around nine or 10 [years old], because he’s just a big dog. So, we start getting worried about hip joints and knee joints as a reason to start retiring them.”

The abruptness of K9 Waskos’ death surprised everyone, he said.

“It is with extreme sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved active duty K9 Waskos,” the APD said in a Facebook post on June 9. “This is a devastating loss to the Appleton Department and his handler Sergeant [Craig] Rohm.”

The department said nine-year-old K9 Waskos was “energetic, focused, and talented.”

APD Chief Todd Thomas described the six-year department veteran as a “hairy, scary-looking teddy bear,” WFRV reported.

K9 Waskos assisted with 300 arrests, 60 fugitive tracks, and about 600 drug searches during his career, Chief Thomas said.

The chief said the beloved K9 was one of the agency’s hardest-working dogs.

“Some dogs need to be put back up into their car right away, just because of how amped up they are. But Waskos, all the officers he worked with were able to come up, pet him, tell him ‘Good boy.’ He just had that gentle demeanor about him,” Capt. Lewis told WTAQ. “[But] he could also be brought into briefings, brought into demonstrations. He could be around people; he was just a nice dog.”

“That’s the kind of dog we want, and that’s the standard we are holding,” he added. “We held Waskos to that standard, and the dogs we’re looking for, we want them to be like him.”

In addition to his work with the APD SWAT team and other specialized units, K9 Waskos also assisted multiple law enforcement agencies during his years of service, according to his department.

“He will be remembered for his amazing personality, his love for the work he did, and as a true protector of our community,” the APD said. “Waskos loved to come to work and was truly happy when he was working and training with Sergeant Rohm. Waskos never declined a moment to be showcased on social media and was always ready to help with a K9 demonstration.”

“Rest in Peace Waskos your partners will take it from here,” the APD said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Appleton Police Department and Sergeant Rohm in the loss of K9 Waskos.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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