Oak Orchard students give Medina’s retiring K9 a big sendoff
Kye will call it a career on Nov. 13 after 8 ½ years with Medina PD
MEDINA – They lined the sidewalks along the bus loop at Oak Orchard Elementary School today at about 1 p.m., holding signs with hand-drawn images of Kye and messages of love for the Medina Police Department’s retiring K9.
Kye, a Belgian Malinois, has been a part of the department since 2012, working with handler Todd Draper, a lieutenant with the Medina PD. Draper and Kye stop by the school every year with Draper reading the book, Officer Buckle and Gloria, a story of a school safety officer upstaged by his canine partner.
Draper would typically read the book in the auditorium to a large group of students. This school year, so far larger group gatherings aren’t allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Draper instead recorded a video of him reading the book that was shared with students last week. He and Kye attend many community events and have met many of the students, teachers and staff at the school over the years.
“He has been our special guest every single year at Oak Orchard,” Julie Webber, the school principal, said about Kye and Draper.
She wanted the school to show their appreciation to Medina’s K9 team. The students were out on both side of the bus loop to say goodbye to Kye. There are 275 students in grades Pre-K to 3 at Oak Orchard this year, not counting the students who are full time remote learners.
When Draper let Kye out of the police vehicle at the start of the bus loop, the school played “Who Let the Dogs Out” on the loudspeaker. Then the school played “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.
Draper kept the dog in the middle of the bus loop where he couldn’t be petted by the students, another Covid restriction.
The community can say goodbye to Kye and meet the new K9, Phoenix, from 3 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Medina Dog Park on North Gravel Road. The new K9 handler will be Medina police officer Jacob Reeves.
Nov. 13 will be the last official day for Kye. Reeves and Phoenix will start that day as the new K9 team.
In his retirement, Kye will stay with Lt. Draper and his family, but no longer will be joining Draper at work.
Draper said he has built many relationships with Medina students and community members through Kye. Kye’s main duties have been tracking, drug detection, building searches and criminal apprehension. Kye and Draper have attended many public events and visited local schools and done many demonstrations for the community.
“There’s no doubt I’ve been able to have many positive interactions with kids and adults because of Kye,” Draper said. “They don’t know my name but they know Kye’s name.”