2 Lancaster County law enforcement agencies mourn the loss of K-9 officers

Lancaster County Sheriff's Office K-9 Officer Ronin (left) and Manheim Township Police Department K-9 Officer Ruger (right)

LANCASTER COUNTY — Two Lancaster County law enforcement agencies are mourning the passing of K-9 officers on Friday.

Friday morning, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office announced that Ronin, one of its most-decorated K-9 officers, was euthanized after a “rapid decline in health.”

Early Friday afternoon, Manheim Township Police announced that Ruger, the department’s first K-9 officer, has also reached the end of watch.

Ronin retired from the Sheriff’s Office in February after serving for almost a decade. He was a veteran of 70 bomb calls, 78 public demonstrations, 1,135 warrant services, 13 apprehensions, 36 suspect surrenders and 14 tracking assignments, with five suspect locations, the department said.

He assisted on the police search for Eric Frien, the convicted killer of a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper, and also worked at special events in Lancaster County, like the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship at Lancaster Country Club. He also served during visits to the area by Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Pope Francis.

Ronin spent his last months with his handler, Sgt. David Bolton, and family.

Ronin was escorted to West Lancaster Animal Hospital by members of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the Lancaster City Police K-9 Unit, the Lancaster County Prison K-9 Unit, Columbia Borough Police, East Hempfield Township Police, the York County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, and the CSX Railroad Police K-9 Unit.

“K9 Ronin had an amazing career and will always be remembered,” the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office wrote.

Ruger specialized in patrol, narcotics detection, and tracking with the Manheim Township Police Department, where he served for nine years after becoming the department’s first K-9 officer in 2008.

Members of the Manheim Township Police Department gathered at the Neffsville Veterinary Clinic to say their final goodbyes to Ruger, who retired from duty in 2017 and spent his final years with his handler, Det. Lee Billiter, and his family.

“Ruger was a loyal officer who served the community well during his watch,” said Manheim Township Police Chief Thomas Rudzinski. “He was loved by the employees and the many people that he met. He will be missed.”

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