Martinsburg Students Name New Police Canine

  • Martinsburg Students Name New Police Canine

    Martinsburg Students Name New Police Canine

    The Martinsburg Police Department’s revamped Canine Unit is getting ready to roll and the students of two neighborhood schools are playing an important part in the program.

    This past week, students at Winchester Avenue and Burke Street Elementary Schools voted to choose the name for MPD’s new police canine. Burke Street and Winchester Avenue are the two pilot schools in The Martinsburg Initiative, the groundbreaking opioid prevention program being spearheaded by MPD, Berkeley County Schools, and Shepherd University. The pilot schools were given the honor to choose the new police dog’s name. The department’s new canine is a 10-month-old German Shepherd who will be hitting the streets later this summer with MPD’s new canine handler, Patrolman Ryan Fritz.

    To name the dog, the police department invited each student at the two schools to voice their preference for one of three proposed names: “Ace,” “Jax,” or “Titan.” The votes are in, the ballots have been counted, and the winning name is “Titan”—by a landslide! The combined tallies from both schools for the new canine’s names were: Titan—148, Jax—80, and Ace—61.

    Kathy Wright, Principal at Winchester Avenue School made the announcement to her students Thursday afternoon at the school’s awards assembly. “Our kids were so excited to participate in naming the new police dog,” stated Principal Wright. “Chief Richards was at our assembly today and when I announced that ‘Titan’ was the winning name, the students just went wild! In Martinsburg, the schools and police have a very strong partnership. Having MPD include our students in this process was really special for us,” added the Winchester Avenue School Principal.

    “Having MPD include our students in this process was really special for us…”

    Earlier this year, Patrolman Fritz, one of two MPD “Officers of the Year” in 2016, was selected as the department’s new canine handler. At the end of this month, Officer Fritz and Titan will be starting an intensive six week training and certification course in Pennsylvania and are scheduled to begin full patrol duties by the first week of August. Aggressive drug enforcement, regular visits to schools, and positive engagement with the community will be the focus of the Canine Unit.

    “Aggressive drug enforcement, regular visits to schools, and positive engagement with the community will be the focus of the Canine Unit.”

    Chief Maury Richards stressed the special unit’s importance to the department and community. “An effective and productive canine unit is essential to MPD’s mission of fighting drugs and building strong relationships between the police and all community residents, especially youth,” Richards stated. “Ryan Fritz brings an enthusiasm to his new assignment that’s contagious. Ryan and Titan are going to make a great team and I’m fully confident that when they return from training, they’re going to hit the ground running.”

    MPD’s new canine handler is up for the challenge “I’m excited,” stated Officer Ryan Fritz. “I just can’t wait to get out there, complete our training, and start working with Titan. This is going to be fun!”

    In appreciation for the students’ participation in naming MPD’s new canine member, Winchester Avenue and Burke Street Elementary Schools will be the first schools visited by Officer Fritz and Titan when classes resume in August.