At 84 years young – in human years – one member of the Village of Oregon Police Department is finally enjoying retirement.

Vende, the first K-9 unit at OPD, traded-in her badge for a rubber ball in October after 11 years of duty. She turned 12 years old – in dog years – in November.

A group of community members gathered at the Public Works building on Wednesday, Dec. 15 to celebrate her time on the force.

The Oregon Police Department’s K-9 Unit program was established in 2010 when Vende was purchased after a year of donations and fundraising events. Vende is a purebred German Shepherd who specialized in drug detection and tracking human odor.

Her first day of work was Oct. 31, 2010 and her last day was Oct. 31, 2021.

The K-9 unit is currently funded entirely through community donations, sponsorships from local businesses, and annual fundraising events such as the Putts for Paws golf outing and a pancake breakfast with Santa.

A large portion of the K-9 unit operating cost is also covered through donations from local businesses.

Outside of work, K-9 Vende enjoyed meeting and interacting with members of the community and missed all the ear rubs from the community in 2020.

She and her handler, Officer Josh Kohlman, primarily worked the night shift together.

K-9 Vende completed a yearly certification through the Waukesha Community Technical College where she was expected to be able to locate drugs including Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine and Methamphetamines that are hidden in lockers, vehicles, rooms and luggage. Vende was the oldest dog in class, but passed with 100% proficiency.

Kohlman said he plans to still bring her around the police station so she can hang out with all her longtime friends and former coworkers.

Reporter Neal Patten can be reached at npatten@wisconsinmediagroup.com

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