Winnie will be missed

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, October 21, 2010

We join the Clanton Police Department in mourning the loss of a dedicated officer.

Winnie, the department’s 7-year-old narcotics detection dog, died from cancer earlier this month.

Many of us are familiar with the bonds that can form between people and their pets. They can become like part of the family, providing companionship, entertainment and warm memories. Losing a beloved pet is never easy, especially when the animal dies too soon in its life, and the loss of Winnie is especially difficult because of what she provided the department.

Winnie, a yellow Labrador retriever, was good at what she did. Clanton PD Chief Brian Stilwell estimated Winnie helped in making hundreds of drug related arrests. She also spent countless hours doing demonstrations to schools, churches and community groups, improving the image of the department with her charming personality.

“These dogs are not just tools. They become members of our family and especially members of the K-9 handler’s family. She will be sorely missed,” Stilwell said. “These dogs, in addition to their detection work, do so much positive public relations for the department.”

Winnie and her handler, Officer Ronald Giles, learned their work at the same time. “She was new to it at the time, and I was too,” Giles said.

“It was tough and hard. You have them every day and night. We had a lot of good times together. She did a lot of good work for the department.”