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Falls cop reflects on canine retirement

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For the last decade, Falls Township Police Officer Edward Elmore and his partner Monty have been inseparable.

“We get up and get ready for work together,” Elmore said of his partner, a 12-year-old Belgian Malinois. “Most of our days off are up at the house. You’re bringing not just a job and a work partner but, you’re bringing a new family member home.”

Monty is retiring from Falls Township Police after faithfully serving the department since April 2014. Cross-trained in apprehension and recovery, Monty specializes in explosive detection.

“Ten years is an ambitious target,” Elmore said. “Some dogs age out well before that.”

Throughout his career, Monty has assisted with a bomb threat at Montgomery County’s municipal complex, as well as with school bomb threats.

“There’s just no way to disprove a threat besides going through every inch of the place,” Elmore said. “It would take 100 years (for police) to go through every drawer and every box.”

But trained dogs, like Monty, can sniff out a potential school building threat within a few hours.

“There’s nothing in the world that can replace them,” Elmore said. “Nothing is as effective as a dog’s nose.”

During the first year of the partners’ time together, Monty helped apprehend someone involved in a rooftop burglary at Mike’s Gun Shop. The suspect had entered through a three-foot hole in the building’s roof. To make his getaway, the burglar crawled through the ceiling cavities in neighboring businesses. Monty noticed his scent “up high” and police ripped out ceiling tiles. The suspect’s arm came through tiles in the adjacent pizza shop and Monty jumped up and pulled him through.

On another occasion, Monty helped apprehend a suspect involved in an attempted carjacking. Police received a tip that the suspect had been dropped off at the bottom of the street where he lived. Elmore and Monty responded, but 30 or 45 minutes had gone by.

“He could’ve been anywhere at that point,” Elmore said, noting that Monty followed the suspect’s scent underneath the highway and into a drainpipe. “Monty knew. Not a second guess. Had it not been for the dog, we would’ve never come up with this guy.”

With his retirement, Monty is switching gears to notifying Elmore and his family when an Amazon driver is a few miles away or sniffing out all of the ingredients used in making the pizza being delivered.

“He’s always alert,” Elmore said of Monty and his other dog. “You always feel comfortable knowing that they’re around. They’re the best security system.”

Elmore, who celebrated 24 years with Falls Township Police Jan. 13, transitioned to K-9 work with Monty, his first four-legged partner.

“I’ve always had a love for dogs,” Elmore said, adding that he enjoys training dogs. “The time you put in is always equal to the return you get. I couldn’t imagine not having dogs in the family.”

His love of working as a K-9 officer has led to sacrifices, including passing up tests for promotions. As a supervisor, Elmore would not have been able to work with dogs or respond to other municipalities with his canine partner.

“I’m looking forward to taking everything I’ve learned over the last 10 years and serving with my next canine partner,” Elmore said, noting that Monty enjoys the company of other dogs and will be fast friends with Elmore’s new partner. “They are social animals. They like the company. They never like to be alone. He truly enjoys being around other people and dogs.”


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