By Polly Keary, Editor
One of Monroe’s most successful anti-drug police force members has died.
Ryco’s Taylor Made, known as “Taylor,” a yellow lab who came to work at the Monroe Police Department as a drug-searching dog in 2003, died at the home of her former handler on July 5.
Taylor was one of two drug dogs that the department got in 2003.
“They were the first drug dogs for the city,” said Monroe Police Department Spokesperson Deb Willis.
Taylor’s first handler was Steve Clopp, and the two immediately started racking up big successes.
“In the first December after we got her, she was called to Fred Meyer to help immigration with a vehicle that got detained and she found a large case with 200 pounds of marijuana,” said Willis.
In 2005, she helped police find 149 kilos of cocaine in a vehicle that got pulled over on Main Street.
And in October of 2005, she sniffed out $700,000 in cash in a sophisticated compartment in a car.
But Taylor had other jobs on the police force, as well. She was good at doing demonstrations at public events like National Night Out.
“She went to schools, did demos, went anywhere we could put a dog and give the familiarity with the K9 program,” said Willis.
Officer James Tolbert took over as Taylor’s handler in 2007, and the dog worked for the next five years before retiring in April of 2012 to the home of her handler, which is customary.
The dog was a ubiquitous sight around the police station, Willis remembered.
One of the things that makes a good drug-seeking dog is the ability to be motivated by a toy, which is used as a reward in training, and for her entire life Taylor was extremely fond of playing catch with small stuffed animals.
“You’d find stuffed animals all around,” said Willis. “She loved them. We’d toss it and she’d go bring it back and that’s all she wanted to do.”
Upon learning that the dog, 12, had died, the Monroe Police Department sent cards of condolences to both of Taylor’s previous handlers. Taylor was cremated and laid to rest.