Battle brewing over Schertz PD K-9 officer

K-9 Medor is a narcotics K-9 in the Schertz Police Department.

SCHERTZ, Texas – A battle is brewing over a police K-9 in Schertz.

“Medor is 8 years old and is at or not far from his K9 retirement age. A well-deserved retirement with the only handler he has ever known is most definitely in his best interest,” Deidra Lee wrote in a statement to Schertz City Council.

“What message are we sending to them that we are going to use an animal until its life cycle is completely over to then just be just discarded like a piece of equipment?” Luke Hanley said to the city council Tuesday night.

They were strong words from the people of Schertz to their elected officials about police K-9 Medor.

Medor has worked as a narcotics detection K-9 at Schertz PD since 2016 when he went through training with his longtime partner Cpl. Jason Hanley.

“I would say that -- every handler would say that, you know, the bond between them and their dog is significant,” Hanley said.

Significant and yields results. In 2021, Medor and Hanley found over 1,000 grams of different narcotics, leading to 12 arrests for the department.

This May, Hanley left SPD and asked to retire the now 8-year-old Medor and let him live out his senior years at home with family.

“K-9′s service life is anywhere from 6 years to 10 years,” Hanley said.

Schertz PD chief Jim Lowery says Medor has more in him.

“We believe at a minimum of two and up to four more years, and that’s been verified by the current vet,” Lowery said.

In May, Hanley wrote to Chief Lowery asking to adopt Medor, citing a previous conversation about the K-9 program in January.

“I brought up potentially how many more years of service Medor had which would be two, however, that was intending me as his handler,” Hanley wrote.

“The bottom line is I had to say no. It’s not a decision I take lightly, but it’s in the best interests of this community and this department,” Lowery said.

Lowery says if Medor had a year or less of service, he’d give the dog to Hanley and begin the search for a new K-9.

“I believe, as the chief of police, the best decision is to put that dog back to work. That’s minimal cost for us and for the community. Otherwise, I’m going to be spending $25,000 or more to get a new dog,” Lowery said.

“The decisions made by the department are deemed retaliatory in nature,” Sabrina Richardson wrote in a statement to the city council.

An online petition to reunite Medor with Hanley has garnered over 2,800 signatures in a week.

“All I care about is just making sure my partner, Medor, can come back home,” Hanley said.

“I’m happy to see a lot of the responses from citizens. That just tells me they’re paying attention. I’m disappointed in the fact that I do believe there’s some misinformation out there,” Lowery said.

Some of that misinformation includes rumors that Schertz PD intended to sell Medor to another department.

“Unequivocally, the answer is no. I have been asked by that agency to sell the dog, and they were told no. I’m not selling the dog. I wouldn’t sell it to you to start off with,” Lowery said. “If I was going to do that, why wouldn’t I have sold it to Jason? But in addition to that, I don’t believe in selling the dog.”

The chief says Medor has been kept in a kennel while they looked for a new handler, which they have found now. Both will need to undergo certification to begin working together officially.

The chief says they’re tentatively planning for that training for October.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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