Ramapo is mourning the loss of its K-9 officer Cerbie, who died Aug. 28. The dog was 2 years old.
About 40 officers representing Ramapo and Lower Hudson Valley police agencies turned out Wednesday evening along with town officials and members of the public to remember the dog ahead of a Town Board meeting.
”(Cerbie) served this police department well, he served this community well,” Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower said.
Officer Andre Sanchez, Cerbie’s handler, was also on hand.
When he first partnered with the dog, Sanchez decided to name him to honor Airmont resident Steve Vahaviolos, who died in May 2006 at age 21 while serving with the Marine Corps in Iraq.
Vahaviolos had a passion for the ancient Greek mythological character of Cerberus, which led Sanchez to call the dog Cerbie.
Town Councilman Patrick Withers, a retired police officer, called the officers a “class-act” and praised them for taking the time out to come to the ceremony and represent K-9 handlers everywhere
The men and women in blue gathered at Town Hall paid tribute to both Cerbie and Steve Vahaviolos, Withers said.
The soldier’s parents, Vicky and Gus Vahaviolos, presented Sanchez with a medal during the ceremony. The Vahaviolos received a bouquet from the town.
Cerbie graduated from the Orange County K9 Academy in July 2011 after a 16-week training course and was used for narcotics detection and for tracking.