Rest in Peace Vice -- 02/14/2008 - 08/22/2016

K-9 units team up in Nanticoke, Hanover Twp.
Paul Golias - Citizens Voice

The barking alone is enough to get a bad guy to back off.
In Wyoming Valley's South Valley area, the barking may be coming from more than one K-9 dog, and that often means that more than one bad situation will not get worse.
Police officers in the Nanticoke City and Hanover Township police departments are using well-trained dogs both as stand-alone patrol and search partners and as components of a cooperative program that is paying dividends.
The dogs are handling a variety of challenges, from suspect apprehension to narcotics searches to building goodwill through community outreach.
Thanks to a $102,000 grant made available via the state gaming proceeds distribution, both departments were able to buy new vehicles, cages and various K-9 support items intended to keep the animals safe and comfortable in the patrol cruisers.
Nanticoke's K-9 officer, Patrolman Brian Kivler, and his dog, Vice, and Hanover Township's officer, Patrolman Mark Stefanowicz, and his dog, Ado, met for a "team photo" last week. Vice is a long-haired German shepherd and Ado is a Malinois, related to the Belgian shepherd.
Police Chief Bill Shultz of Nanticoke and Chief Al Walker of Hanover Township joined the K-9 cops and dogs and then provided insight into the program.
Kivler has been Nanticoke's K-9 officer for the last four years. Vice is 4 years old and was trained by Plymouth Borough Police Chief Myles Collins.
Hanover's K-9 program dates to 1991. Stefanowicz teamed with Ado, also 4 years old, in 2009 and the dog was trained by Paul Price of the Northeast Canine Academy, Wilkes-Barre Township. It takes about three months to go through training, the officers said.
The key value of K-9 dogs is deterrence, the officers said.
"An individual will take on three police officers,'' Stefanowicz said, "but when he sees the canine, he backs off.''
It often is enough to threaten to get the dog out of the cruiser or yell to a fugitive in hiding that "I'm sending in the dog'' to get him to surrender, Stefanowicz said.
With gun violence escalating in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the value of K-9 dogs also has grown. And it is in this phase of police work, and in narcotics interdiction, that the South Valley K-9 Partnership shows its strength. The dogs can go anywhere in the county.
"Because small towns can't afford dog programs, the opportunity to use one of our dogs is a great benefit to those towns and to the county," Kivler said.
The dogs may be called on to search for a missing person or to do a narcotics search of a stopped vehicle. The dogs can search houses and other buildings.
From time to time, the K-9 cops will take their dogs to area middle schools and high schools and do unannounced locker searches. The dogs can detect drugs in lockers and school personnel then can determine if illegal drugs are being brought into the buildings by drug pushers.
"This service is priceless," Stefanowicz said. "The impact on kids is incredible when police show up to do searches."
Stefanowicz said as many as eight to 10 K-9 units can take part in such inspections and "it is something to see that number of K-9 units pull into a school parking lot at one time."
There are other K-9 units in Luzerne County, including Kingston, Wilkes-Barre Township, at the county prison and a new dog in small Sugar Notch Borough where the chief, Chris Pelchar, is the K-9 handler.
The Hanover and Nanticoke dogs have been used as trackers, including a recent case in Nanticoke where a missing 6-year-old was tracked back to his own home.
Stefanowicz said the dogs are very intense when they do drug searches and they can tire after 30 minutes or so. Often, a second dog then takes over or does part of the search in a bigger building, such as a school.
The dogs are not trained to sniff out bombs. Specialized animals are used in such cases because cops would not know if a dog was signaling drugs or a bomb if cross-training was used.
The officers do presentations to scout troops, community organizations and the like. Stefanowicz took Ado to show his skills at a recent cancer awareness program in Mountain Top.
Walker said Nanticoke and Hanover Township have a long history of cops backing up each other and the K-9 cooperative is an extension of that work.
Shultz said sharing of information is vital today and law enforcement agencies are networking to combat drugs and gangs, the latter an emerging issue that is on the radar of state and federal legislators.
The average career life of a K-9 dog is 10 years. The dogs live with the officer-handler and most often, in retirement, they pass to the private ownership of that officer and his family.
Hanover Township residents became familiar with Rikki and Zeke, K-9 dogs of the past.
State Sen. John Yudichak, who aided Nanticoke and Hanover Township in getting the state grant, lauded the regional effort.
"We cannot expect towns to go it alone in the fight for safe neighborhoods," he said. Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, is hopeful that more cooperation and true regionalization will take place.
Walker said the towns are hopeful they can obtain new grants for K-9 and other programs.


Meet K9 Vice. Vice is a 4 year old German Shepherd Police Service Dog. He is presently the City's only sworn Police Canine. K9 Vice continues to be a tremendous asset to both the Police Department and the Community he serves. Vice has been protecting and serving the citizens of our community since 2009.
Vice is partnered with Officer Kivler. K9 Vice is uniquely trained to locate hidden evidence such as illegal drugs/narcotics. He also had training in crowd control, evidence recovery, suspect apprehension, suspect tracking, and search and rescue, such as human tracking. Vice has undergone countless hours of training to achieve his certification as Police Service Dog.
Vice has aided Police Officers in locating substantial amounts of illegal street drugs that were hidden in the most unique places.


The mission of the K-9 Unit is quite simple, to detect and deter crime...

There are many ways police service dogs are utilized to fight crime -

• Man Tracking
• Area Search in large fields or woods for hidden suspects
• Building Search for hidden suspects
• Evidence Recovery
• Narcotic Detection
• Physical Apprehension of dangerous criminals
• Emergency Response Team Support

Your Nanticoke Police K-9 Unit serves the community and enhances police patrol functions by utilizing the canine's keen senses and abilities in detecting and apprehending criminals.


What should and shouldn't you do if you encounter a police dog while on duty?

The most important thing is to allow the handler and dog to do their job; staying out of the way is probably the most helpful thing a citizen can do. Often you may see a handler and his canine tracking a suspect, perhaps even through your own yard. Everyone is curious, but by walking around to get a better look at what's going on just makes the K-9 teams work that much more difficult.

Citizens are justifiably concerned about what is happening when they see police officers in their neighborhood, but trying to stop the handler and his dog to ask questions while they are working is not the best time to do so. If you have important information to pass on, direct it to support officers that are with the K-9 handler.

Do not approach a police K-9 vehicle that is unattended! Trying to get a peek at the police service dog could cause aggressive behavior and could be a danger to you; it is not only unsafe to tease a police dog, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW.

If you should ever find yourself in the RARE situation of having a suspect run by you that is being chased by a police dog, the best thing to do is just stand still; by standing still the dog will not pay as much attention to you.

One last don't... don't try to pet a police dog without permission of the handler. Police dogs are not just another family pet; they are trained law enforcement tools and must be treated with regard for the work they must perform.

Would you be interested in making a donation(s) for safety equipment, food, treats, etc. for our K-9 unit?

If you are, please make donations to:
The City of Nanticoke, In care of c/o The Police K9 Vice.
You may also specify what you would like your donation(s) to be used for.

Special Thanks to:
Greater Nanticoke Area School District- for the purchase of the VICE.
Fraternal Order of Eagles- For the purchase of vehicle equipment.
Rick's One Stop- For outdoor Kennel vehicle installations and window tint.
Lion's Club of Nanticoke - Donations towards a bullet resistant vest.
David John's DVM. (Nanticoke)- Total Veterinary Service and Care
EMJAZE (Nanticoke)- Vehicle & Station Graphics
CPS Direct (Nanticoke)- Printed Materials