MORRISTOWN, NJ (Morris County) – Names that will carry them with dignity and fidelity throughout their careers as Morris County K-9s have been chosen for two endearing puppies donated to the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section.
The puppies, a 5-month-old female Belgian Malinois, was donated by Jeff Riccio, founder and trainer at Riptide K9 in Plymouth, Massachusetts and 10-week-old male Labrador Retriever, was donated by Walter Quense, founder and trainer of onPOINT-K9 in Bernards Township.
Both donors have a professional relationship with K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon. The donations will save Morris County about $12,000 that otherwise would have been spent on new dogs for the K-9 section.
The Morris County Sheriff’s Office asked for the public’s help in naming them and received 398 submissions on its Facebook page.
Two people suggested the dogs be named in memory of Dover Police Officer Arthur J. Ohlsen, III, and Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph S. Wargo, who both died in the line of duty.
In honor of the two Officers, the Belgian Malinois has been named JoJo, after Officer Wargo. The Labrador Retriever will answer to Odie, which was Officer Ohlsen’s nickname on the police force.
“Officers Ohlsen and Wargo are still remembered and very much missed. Naming these beautiful dogs who are partnered with Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Detectives for them keeps their spirits alive within the law enforcement community,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.
Ohlsen, an 18-year veteran of the Dover Police Department, was struck in 2003 by a New Jersey Transit train under the Salem Street overpass in Dover as he directed fire apparatus to the scene of a blaze on the tracks and tried to ensure that people known to congregate by the tracks were not in danger.
Officer Wargo was struck in his patrol vehicle on Route 80 in Roxbury Township in 2011 by a driver who admittedly was impaired on drugs. Despite efforts by police and emergency medical technicians to save him, Officer Wargo died. The driver pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and in 2013 was sentenced to 20 years in state prison.
“I think this is an amazing tribute to my father. Both my family and myself want to thank the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and everyone that voted for naming of the new K-9 puppies after him,” said Officer Trevor Ohlsen.
Officer Wargo’s widow, Amy Wargo, said she was deeply touched by the gesture and that she still has two pugs she shared with her husband before his death eight years ago.
“This is really special. It shows that Joe has not been forgotten. He would be over the moon about it,” said Amy Wargo.
Odie has begun training in explosives detection through odor recognition exercises and JoJo will be trained in search and rescue and accelerant detection.
The specialized training will take up to six months before certification occurs. But both dogs will likely not start their official working careers until they are a year old and more mature.