Officer Ken Greenleaf and K-9 Caden captured the gold medal at the World Police and Fire Games inNew York Citylast week, ending their respective careers on an ultimate high note.
Greenleaf, who retired last Friday after serving 26 years with the Redondo Beach Police Department, received the city’s greatest honor – the key to the city – from City Council Tuesday night. Caden, who was Greenleaf’s sixth K-9 partner, was sold to the officer for $1 and will retire from police dog work at the relatively young age of two-and-a-half.
Greenleaf and Caden emerged victorious from a field 29 police dogs and handlers hailing fromCanada,Belgium, and all over theU.S.The officer praised his dog’s performance and said that after their victory was announced he fully began to realize that his career had come to an end.
“It hit home,” he said. “We walked off that field for the last time and it hit home we are no longer working – that is a good thing and a bad thing, because we enjoyed every bit of training, every trial, every bit of the street work….After completing the protection phase [of the trials], I knew that Caden did excellent in all the events. At that time I knew I had finished my career, and tears came to my eyes. Caden and I went off into a corner by ourselves and enjoyed the time together – he got big hugs and kisses.”
Greenleaf said Caden faced an unusual challenge – he was bitten by another dog right before competing. Amazingly, Caden stayed still and calm through the attack and was unfazed as he competed.
“Caden was flawless,” Greenleaf said.
The imposing 6’7” Greenleaf has become one of the most respected dog handlers in the country and leaves behind a thriving K-9 unit within the RBPD. The public has emphatically supported RBPD K-9’s, and contributed nearly $4,000 for Greenleaf’s trip to the World Games, half of which will also go to buy a new dog to replace Caden.
Councilman Steve Aspel, a close friend of Greenleaf’s, lamented the loss of an officer who has become a local legend.
“It’s just sad to see him go,” Aspel said. “He’s the face of our police department. He’s had five dogs, and they’ve all won championships. The only common denominator is Kenny.” ER