Washougal Police K-9 retires after nearly decade-long stint

Ranger honored for ‘many years of faithful, devoted service’

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One of Washougal Police Department’s finest has retired to a life of belly rubs, squeaky toys and games of fetch.

Ranger, an 11-year old Dutch shepherd, performed his final duties as a member of the Washougal Police Department (WPD)’s K-9 unit in November 2022. He was honored with a certificate of merit by the city of Washougal during a Jan. 9 city council meeting.

“Congratulations to Ranger … on a highly successful career,” WPD Chief Wendi Steinbronn said during the meeting. “The Washougal Police Department would like to thank you for your many years of faithful and devoted service.”

Ranger was certified for narcotics patrol in October 2013 and worked with Detective Sergeant Kyle Day for more than nine years.

“(That’s) pretty amazing for a working dog,” Steinbronn said.

Ranger was assigned to the Southwest Washington Regional SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team for five years and the U.S. Marshals Service Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force for 2.5 years in addition to his local patrol work.

“On one of Ranger’s last patrol deployments, he locked down a suspect that had committed several coffee stand robberies in our area,” Steinbronn said. “On his last day of work, Ranger apprehended a violent fugitive that attempted to flee from the U.S. Marshals’ task force.”

Ranger had more than 600 patrol deployments, 750 narcotic deployments, and numerous tracks that resulted in the capture of “dangerous suspects” during his career, Steinbronn said.

“One of his most famous captures came (after) a child had been hit by a car,” Day told the Post-Record. “The driver left the scene and then fled into a hillside. They actually buried themselves in a hole and were completely covered up. Ranger located the trail and led us right to them. A warning was given, and the person gave up. This made national news and even some YouTube coverage.”

Ranger “was a great partner,” according to Day.

“(He) made me look good on numerous occasions,” Day told the Post-Record. “It would seem like we would be out for a walk, then all of the sudden he would change his behavior, and sure enough, he located whoever it was we were looking for.

“I remember one time we located three burglars hiding in back yards after we had cleared an entire block, and we decided to walk back to the car in a different direction. As we were walking along, he stopped, looked to the right, then crossed the street, giving an alert to a fenced back yard. We then set containment and gave a warning to give up. All three of them gave up and were taken into custody.”

Ranger was the fourth dog to serve in the WPD’s canine officer program, which launched “almost 20 years ago,” according to Day. He succeeded Dingo, a Dutch Shepherd who retired in October 2013 after serving the city of Washougal for seven years.

The WPD has already “sworn in” Ranger’s successor — Cassius, a 2.5-year-old shepherd/Malinois mix.

“(Cassius) has been phenomenal, a great partner,” Day said during the Jan. 9 meeting. “Our (canine) program is very well renowned. A lot of people ask us for help to start (their own programs), so that’s a good testament to (our success).”

Ranger will continue to live with Day’s family.

“He is a great family dog and will be enjoying retirement being a house pet … while Cassius has to go work each day,” Day said.