A black Labrador retriever, one week away from his formal retirement as a law enforcement dog, died Aug. 3 at his handler's home.
Warden was trained through a follow-your-nose style of detective work used for hunting dogs, said Sr. Cpl. Carl Winckoski of the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement.
“For eight years, K-9 Warden was a very valuable member of our team and of our law enforcement family, and we honor him for his service to the people of Delaware,” said Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Chief Robert Legates.
Warden, 10, was partners for eight years with Lt. Casey Zolper. Together, the two tracked illegal hunts and missing persons. Warden tracked illegally-caught river herring, doves, turkeys, ducks and deer. He helped locate marijuana growing in state wildlife areas, and he found key evidence in criminal cases, such as firearms, ammunition and personal items, Winckoski said.
When Lt. Zolper and his partner were not working in the field, Warden often served as Fish and Wildlife Enforcement’s K-9 ambassador, visiting schools, attending statewide community events and assisting Zolper in introducing children and adults to Fish and Wildlife-specific law enforcement techniques, Winckoski said.
On duty, Warden was Zolper’s partner and all business, wearing his own badge on his camouflage police dog collar. However, Winckoski said, at the end of the workday, the good-natured K-9 agent was all about spending his down time with his family, especially Zolper’s 4-year-old daughter.
“Warden was a great partner on the job, and a big part of my family at home,” Zolper said. “He will be missed both professionally and personally.”