K-9, Handler retire from local police agency

MARQUETTE — A retirement ceremony was held for the first-ever K-9 handler at the Marquette City Police Department, who is given credit for growing the program into what it is today, as well as his furry partner, Frodo. ABC Ten’s Chelsea Birdsall has the details.

“They’ve been an excellent resource here at Marquette PD,” said Chief Blake Reiboldt of the Marquette Police Department. “They’ve been great ambassadors, not only to our K-9 program, which Marty started in 2003, but he’s really been able to mentor and teach some of our young K-9 officers.”

Those kind words from Chief Blake Reiboldt to Marquette City Police Department’s newest retirees, Lieutenant Mathias “Marty” Munger and his K-9, Frodo. Current and retired officers along with Lieutenant Munger’s family came out to see the duo honored at City Hall this afternoon.

“It’s been a career of enjoyment and pleasure and hard work; a lot of dedication and good people,” said Lieutenant Munger. “Even the public – yeah, you deal with some bad guys once in a while but I think most people are good. They just have a bad time they experience and we’re there to try and pick them up and move on.”

With 25 years dedicated to the force, Lieutenant Munger has spent the last 14 of that growing the K-9 program at the department, something he is single-handedly given credit for. Back in 2003, it was just Munger and his partner Nero, working to make the program the best it can be. Now, nearly a decade and a half later, there are two K-9 handlers, and two K-9s, Skud, who specializes in drugs and tracking like Frodo, and Nitro, who specializes in explosives. Once the newest officer is officially certified and has a good handle on handling, the department intends on purchasing a second drug and tracking dog to replace Frodo. Since Munger is a master-handler and is certified to train dogs in both drugs and tracking as well as explosives, the department had him work one-on-one with the other two handlers.

“The new guys here, they have new vehicles, good equipment, but that hard work to try and get to that point – I remember those and they were a lot of fun,” Lieutenant Munger said. “I see the different changes with the new guys and their handling and the experiences they’re having. It makes me smile to see what they’re going through and it make me smile to see them progressing and doing very well with their dogs.”

Frodo is eight-years-old, the average age for retirement for police dogs, and is living with degenerative myopia, which gives him spine issues that makes it hard from extraneous activity. So, Frodo is not only retiring with Lieutenant Munger, but he’s also going home with him.

“This dog here was probably the best tactical dog I’ve had as far as control with bite work and things like that, but it’s like a game to him. He’s really easy to get along with once you get close to him.”

Munger is not too sure what they’ll be doing in retirement, but he says he’s very thankful for having had such a great career.