Officer Mourns Loss of Best Friend
By Rachel Stein
The sympathy cards are piled high on the desk of Police Officer Paul Osella. Hundreds of people wrote to express sympathy for the loss of his partner, Dallas, who died Jan. 3.
Dallas was no ordinary police officer. He was a K-9 cop.
"Dallas was a great patrol dog," says Osella. "He was very protective of all the officers on the force and made a great impact on the community he served."
Dallas, a German Shepherd, was the third patrol dog employed by the UConn Police Department. He had worked with Osella and the department since May 1999.
During this period, Dallas and Osella performed many services: searching buildings, recovering evidence, and controlling crowds. These services were sometimes extended to the surrounding communities of Coventry, Willimantic, the State Corrections Department, and the Connecticut State Police.
"Dallas's presence on a call would put everyone's mind at ease," says Osella. "Dallas was a great tracker, so he would make parts of the job much easier."
Dallas also performed many demonstrations. "He was a very social dog," says Osella.
The two visited E.O. Smith High School in Storrs to talk about drugs and alcohol, gave a skills demonstration at the African American Cultural Center on campus, and also competed in the K-9 Olympics."
The UConn Police have obtained another dog for training and eventual deployment in the community. Benny, the new German Shepherd, will start the 14-week State Police canine training program on Feb. 18. Osella will accompany him throughout the program.