Max in action

The late canine officer Max, who will be honored with a memorial service Thursday at the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, is pictured here in action with his handler, Deputy Tracy Andrews, during a random drug sweep at Westfall prior to Max’s retirement last summer.

CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office will honor a longtime canine officer with a public memorial service at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Sheriff’s Office at 600 Island Road.

Max Von Der Salzstrabe, a 10-year-old German Shepherd, served as a partner to Deputy Tracy Andrews for more than eight years before his retirement in August of 2012. Max passed away July 15 due to declining health.

“We encourage the public to come to the service,” said Dr. Doyne Wiggins, deputy and PCSO chaplain. “This is a first for this area and this department, and I think it would be an interesting learning experience for a lot of people. They don’t understand a canine unit is considered an officer and is treated the same. He is one of our own.”

Wiggins will perform the memorial service, which will include a welcome by Sheriff Robert Radcliff, a eulogy by Deputy Andrews and the playing of “Taps.”

Upon Max’s death, Radcliff said the Sheriff’s Office decided it was time to create a memorial to the department’s fallen canine officers on the grounds of its Island Road facility. To that end, Thursday’s service also will include a dedication of the area where a permanent memorial will be erected.

The PCSO had only one canine prior to Max, a German Shepherd named Meika, who served the department several years beginning about the mid-1990s.

Though both he and his handler, Marc Trimble, left the department prior to Meika’s death, plans for the permanent memorial also will include Meika as a Pickaway County canine unit.

Currently, the PCSO has two canines on active duty, both Belgian Malinois from Holland.

Marco, who works with handler Deputy Shad Wright, was brought into service upon Max’s retirement last year.

Turpin, who works with handler Deputy Erick Eberhard, was brought in to replace another German Shepherd, Joschie, who retired several months prior to Max in 2012. He is now in the personal care of his long-time handler, Deputy Stacy Eitel.

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