CRETE | Hans served the Crete Police Department well in recent years, yet the German shepherd is retiring early because his handler took a new job with a different police department.
Hans’ handler with Crete was Officer Dave Gillespie, who recently left to take a job with the Joliet Police Department.
Because police dogs are creatures of habit, the most practical law enforcement future for Hans would be to accompany Gillespie to the new department.
Yet Police Chief James Paoletti said he discovered after talks with Joliet police officials that union regulations would require Gillespie to be with the Joliet police for at least three years before he could be considered for a transfer to a K-9 unit.
Hans, however, is about to turn 8-years-old. The dogs police use are retired at age 9 because after that, they are considered too old.
By the time Gillespie could be considered for a K-9 unit with the Joliet police, Hans will be too old.
Paoletti said the fact that Hans is trained for law enforcement work and knows how to use force in certain situations makes him unsuitable to be someone’s personal pet.
Paoletti also said the Crete Police Department could not afford the cost of boarding and feeding Hans, along with providing for regular shots, if there was no full-time officer with the department to be his handler.
In the end, officials decided the best fate for Hans was for Gillespie to take him because he knows the dog and can handle him.
The Village Board approved the transfer of ownership last week, which also absolves the village of any legal responsibility for Hans' care.
In exchange, Gillespie will pay Crete $2,000 for Hans, which Paoletti said is less than Hans’ true value.
“He hasn’t won the lottery, that’s what he can afford,” the chief said. “This is probably the best outcome we can achieve for Hans.”