MORRISTOWN — A Bernardsville couple who have donated K-9 police dogs to agencies around the United States were honored Wednesday by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office for donating dogs to two departments in New Jersey.
Dr. Caesar DePaço and his wife, Deanne Padovani-DePaço, were awarded a plaque and named Honorary Deputy Sheiffs by Morris County Sheriff Edward V. Rochford at the county’s K-9 facility for their contributions to the Deal Police Department and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit.
“The K-9 unit is spectacular,” Rochford said in front of a small gathering of officers from the sheriff’s office, Deal and Hillsborough, among others. “I admire them. They know I support them tremendously.”
Prior to presenting the DePaço family with a plaque, Sgt. Aaron Tomasini, who conducts hands on training with the K-9 dogs, expressed his gratitude.
“From deep down, (I am) very much appreciative,” he said, “to get these K-9 officers and help get them out in the public.”
Dr. Caesar DePaço is the founder and CEO of Branchburg-based Summit Nutritionals International ®, a manufacturer of raw nutritional supplements. Deanne Padovani-DePaço is the President of the company. Together, they have both donated more than 13 dogs to agencies around the country, from Maryland to Oklahoma City.
In an interview earlier this year, Padovani-DePaço said she and her husband donated their first dog to the Hillsborough Police Department in 2013. After that, Padovani-DePaço said the feelings of gratitude and fulfillment became addicting.
“It feels super great to see the emotion and the reaction of the recipients of the dogs,” Padovani-DePaço said. “They are always so humble and grateful.”
On Wednesday morning, Padovani-DePaço echoed a similar sentiment.
“This is the least of the honor,” she said, as she held the plaque (Dr. Caesar DePaço was not present because he was in Florida, where he serves as the Honorary Consul of Portugal in Palm Coast, Florida). “The honor is to assist the K-9 unit not only in this county but also in the nation…we’re so grateful to be a part of your team.”
Along with the plaque, the DePaço’s were also named Honorary Deputy Sherrifs by Rochford, who quipped about the two using the title to their advantage when traveling across the country.
“When you’re doing 90 miles an hour in Arizona and you get stopped, tell them you’re with us,” he said.
Following the brief awards ceremony, Tomasini led a demonstration of how officers train and deploy K-9 units in the field. He said Morris County has 14 K-9 dogs in service with seven handlers. In all, K-9 units can be deployed to all 39 municipalities in Morris County, Tomasini said.
He said obedience is key with training the dogs.
“It’s just like a child,” he said. “If a child can (be taught to) listen, so can our dogs.”
Tomasini said the dogs in Morris County can handle an array of tasks in the field, from chasing down fleeing subjects to sniffing for explosives and narcotics.
He also touted the dogs’ abilities to go above and beyond what a human officer is capable of. Tomasini said K-9 dogs instill feelings of fear in a subject that a human cannot, and that their speed and agility is unparalleled to humans.
“Every time I come do an apprehension (with a K-9 dog), I win,” Tomasini said.