SALISBURY TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT
Retired Salisbury Township Police Department K-9 Fonzie died Feb. 2 after a short illness. He had been residing with his best friend, Officer Jason Laky and his family since retiring from a distinguished career in law enforcement.
Police Chief Allen Stiles said Fonzie was more than just a dog to the department.
“He lived like a warrior and died like a hero,” Stiles said.
The Salisbury Township K-9 Unit is in its 15th year of service.
In 2003, citizens, the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office and Salisbury Township provided funds for the purchase of the township’s first canine patrol and related equipment.
The first canine was Zeus, a German Shepherd from Budapest, Hungary. Laky, Salisbury Township Department K-9 officer, and Zeus spent more than one month training at Castle K-9 Academy, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, before going on patrol.
“The K-9 Unit has become a very important part of this department. The unit was responsible for taking over $40,000 worth of illegal drugs off the street,” Stiles reported in 2016.
“The use of our K-9 Unit has resulted in enhanced officer safety and a reduction in time spent conducting building and area searches.”
Laky and Zeus also served as police department ambassadors.
Zeus retired from active duty in May 2010 and spent the rest of his life with Laky and his family. Zeus died in 2013.
Fonzie joined the K-9 Unit in the fall of 2010. Fonzie, after his fifth year of service, was retired in 2016.
Rocket, a Belgian Malinois, is the current K-9 partner.
In 2015, Laky and Fonzie responded to 41 calls.
The K-9 team provided skill demonstrations at Salisbury Township schools and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.
The K-9 team participated in several other programs, including the Salisbury Youth Association annual car show, hosted a canine “Decoy School” and the annual “Salisbury Township Police Association’s K-9 Trials” at Salisbury High School, with 30 K-9 teams participating.
The trials raised more than $19,000 to assist families of fallen police officers and to purchase ballistic vests for police canines in the Lehigh Valley.
Stated in a report given to the commissioners in 2016, “Officer Laky has spent many hours planning, developing and implementing the K-9 program. He has given up much of his personal life to provide loving care 24 hours a day for his K-9 partners.
“Officer Laky’s dedication to Zeus, Fonzie and the Salisbury Township Police Department’s K-9 program has been outstanding. Officer Laky is committed to spend the long days and countless hours required to keep our K-9 Unit prepared and ready to take on any challenge,” Stiles said.
Laky is certified as a judge with the National Canine Association and has assisted with the certification process for K-9 teams throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond for many years.