Genoa Township trustees on March 22 acknowledged the resignation of Brutus, the canine partner of township police office Jason Berner.

Genoa Township trustees on March 22 acknowledged the resignation of Brutus, the canine partner of township police office Jason Berner.

The two have worked together since 2004.

Recently, Brutus, an almost 10-year-old German shepherd, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy.

Brutus will spend the remainder of his years with Berner and his family.

"Police canines are an invaluable tool to the department," said Police Chief Robert Taylor. "They're worth their weight in gold. Over the last eight years, Brutus has been involved in search warrants, drug searches, trackings and community events. He truly has been an asset to our department. After eight years of service, he is retiring. We'll miss him; it's a well deserved retirement."

Taylor presented Berner and Brutus with a plaque of appreciation from the township, recognizing the professionalism, dedication and unwavering service to the police department and township residents.

Trustee Barb Lewis presented the canine team with a plaque of appreciation, which included a picture of the unit, from Bob Zimmerman of Spirit Concepts and thanked them for the memories and dedicated efforts to the community.

"This is a bittersweet moment for me," Berner said. "We started in December 2004. It really feels like yesterday."

In February, trustees approved spending $7,250 with Azzi International Services to buy and train a new dog.

The department received public donations of more than $10,000 for the new dog. The remaining funds would stay in the fund covering the dog's care.

Berner is halfway through a six-week training regimen with the new dog, a 2-year-old German shepherd.

"In the last three weeks, I've been training with the new dog and I've been comparing him to (Brutus), and that's a terrible thing to do because (Brutus) cannot be replaced and he won't be replaced. The new dog will start soon, and (Brutus) we'll stay with us, because he absolutely loves my family and that's where he is going to stay," Berner said.

Police dogs live with their handlers during their working careers and typically in retirement.

The department obtained its first dog in 1996.

The chief at that time thought it would be a great asset to the community and department, and it was, Taylor told ThisWeek. Brutus is the department's third dog.