By SHELLY WILKISON
Retired K9 Officer Roady died Saturday from complications following spinal surgery.
Roady, the beloved Liberty Hill police German Shepherd who spent his life with former Chief Randy Williams and his wife, Karen, was eight and one-half years old.
Roady was born in Liberty Hill to two law enforcement K9s, including his sire, Harley, who was also a Liberty Hill K9 officer until his passing. Roady’s mother was a certified cadaver dog.
At age six months, Roady was certified for drug detection. He was also a tracking dog.
“He loved to go to work,” said Williams, who resigned from the Liberty Hill Police Department in March 2016 and retired Roady. “He loved going to the office, and was quick to jump in the car to go. He loved being with people more than anything.”
Roady greeted everyone at the door to the police station, and was popular with kids at the annual Christmas Parade.
Williams said people regularly dropped off dog treats at the station for him, and he especially loved the bones at Tractor Supply.
While still working, Roady was responsible for finding narcotics on numerous traffic stops.
Williams said the first time Roady alerted to drugs on a stop was an incident in which he found marijuana inside a styrofoam cup filled with Big Red soda. He also successfully detected methamphetamine on multiple vehicle stops.
Roady was trained by Williams to find narcotics.
“When he was seven weeks old, I started training him on Cheetos,” he said. “He would search for the Cheetos in his training box, and was rewarded with his rubber kong (ball).”
Then, the training advanced and Cheetos were substituted with narcotics.
Roady was certified by the National Drug Dog Association at age six months, which Williams said is unusual as most K9s are not certified until after one year of age.
Williams said Roady played a big role in deterring both drug use and transportation through the Liberty Hill area.
“Just knowing that a drug detector dog was randomly available deterred them from hauling it through,” he said.
In addition to his service to the community, Roady was an important member of the Williams family.
Besides waking up his parents every day, he stayed close by their sides around the clock.
“He saw the Grand Canyon, nuzzled his nose in the beach at the Pacific Ocean, we took him with us everywhere,” Williams said.
The City of Liberty Hill did not replace Roady after his retirement. The police department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2017, which was revealed for the first time Monday, includes $8,000 for canine expenses.