Officer Adam Ziegler knew that old and retired police dogs needed to be replaced, so he began to do some research about K-9 donations in 2019. Through another officer, he found out about someone who makes frequent donations of funds and equipment to the Deptford police, Dr. Cesar Depaço.
“I would say 10 minutes after contacting him, he had his liaison officer contact me and speak on his behalf,” said Zeigler. “I provided him with a long interview over the phone and told him a little bit about Deptford.”
Depaço, a Portuguese immigrant who now resides in North Jersey, decided on a K-9 donation, which Zeigler requested on behalf of another officer.
To test and select the new, donated K-9, Zeigler drove to West Virginia in October of 2019 and settled on a canine named Pelo that Depaço then purchased.
“We got the approval from the mayor and council who were on board with all of this to present him with a plaque of appreciation,’ Zeigler noted.
To prepare for the demands of policing, Pelo went to K-9 school in January 2020 and graduated in July with his handler, Officer Ryan Osmola. Because of his donation, Depaço was named an honorary Deptford K-9 officer last month, a delay caused by COVID.
“We were the 99th dog that he purchased for police departments not only in New Jersey but around the country and all over the world,” explained Zeigler.
While most of the doctor’s donations have been police dogs, he has also provided police with rifles, motorcycles, SWAT and tactical bands and funds.
A dog owner himself, Depaço has a love for canines.
“I spoke with him several times, however, it wasn’t until I talked to him in person that made me realize that he wants absolutely nothing in return,” Zeigler said. “He won’t ever ask for favors in return; he just simply does it out of the love for making sure police departments are properly funded.”
In addition to the plaque, Depaço received a shadowbox with the collar Pelo wore during training, as well as police and wallet badges.