Oldest K-9 Handler in the Country Retires

By Alex Rose

Published 07/24 2014 11:19PM

Updated 07/24 2014 11:27PM

Hinesburg, Vt.- He's a husband, a former cop, and someone cherished by the communities he's touched.

“We'll just miss him terribly," said Chris Morrell’s friend Susan O’Kane.

On Thursday he celebrated his retirement.

"It feels a little strange,” said Police Canine handler Chris Morrell.  “I'll be the first to say that."

After working in law enforcement for 41 years, Morrell was greeted with smiles and gratitude for a celebration in Hinesburg.

"Well, you know I really appreciate the work you've done,” said a citizen of the community. “You're a rare person.”

“We'll thank you," Morrell replied sincerely.

And Chris isn't the only one celebrating tonight.

His dog buck has been working with him for years, and he can't wait spend time with one of his best friends.

"It feels great, and you have to understand, being a police dog handler is hands down and going away the best job in police work," Morrell said.

Nobody in the country has been doing that job for longer.

At 72, Morrell is the most tenured and oldest dog handler in the United States Police Canine Association.

"A lot of cops by the time they retire, they're either bitter or burnt out,” said Morrell. “As you can tell I'm not bitter or burnt out."

He still has his spunk and smile, and has absolutely left his mark.

"Chris is such a great example to everyone, not just to law enforcement but to human beings, about treating everyone fairly and he's so warm and he's so kind and I just adore him," O’Kane said.

Even though he's retired, he will still find a way to do what he loves.

"I'm going to continue teaching canine and community policing at the Vermont Police Academy," Morrell said.

Executives of the United States Canine Association spoke very highly of Morrell as a colleague and a friend.

He plans to move back to Malta, New York, where his career with law enforcement began. 

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