Sheriff’s Department mourns Cliff, a retired canine

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos courtesy Sheriff’s Department – Cliff worked with law enforcement in drug detections, apprehensions and public relations.

ALBION – For nine years Cliff tracked down criminals, located illegal drugs and was a popular presence with children and the public.

Cliff was a German shepherd that worked with the Sheriff’s Department from 2002 until retiring in 2011. The dog had been declining in health in recent months and died on March 7.

“Other departments would comment on what a great dog he was,” said Lt. Chris Bourke, the dog’s permanent handler. “He was so good for drug detection, for public relations and for other searching. He enjoyed the whole game.”

The 15-year-old was acquired from Czechoslovakia in 2002 and assigned to Bourke.  Cliff was a criminal apprehension dog and his specialty was narcotic drug detection, said Sheriff Scott Hess.

Lt. Chris Bourke, the Sheriff’s Department’s canine handler, is pictured with Cliff.

The dog participated in hundreds of illegal narcotics investigations, executions of search warrants and arrests.  Cliff and Bourke provided assistance to numerous federal, state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout western New York and the Province of Ontario, Canada.

“He was a great representative for the department,” Bourke said this afternoon. “He was so stable and clear-headed.”

Following retirement, Cliff continued to reside with Bourke, who now works with a canine named Cim.

“She’s another dog with a great personality,” Bourke said. “We always want a dog that can represent the department.”