P.O. John Doscinski and Vaki
File photo.

A Riverhead Police Department K9 that assisted officers on a wide variety of cases died Friday after a contracting a severe neurological infection from which he could not recover.

K9 Vaki, an 8-year-old German Shepherd, was a veteran police dog with seven years of service on the force.

Vaki and his handler-partner, Riverhead Police Officer Jack Doscinski, were credited with “recovery and apprehension of criminals and evidence in robbery, burglary and assault cases,” including recently assisting the East End Drug Task Force in recovering large quantities of narcotics and money.

“Through the K9 demonstrations and public interactions Vaki has interacted with many members of our community and will be missed by all. The Riverhead Police Dept. would like to recognize Vaki for his years of service. He will be missed,” the department said in a press release.

Two years ago, Vaki and Doscinski were credited with stopping a thief in East Hampton. At the time, Doscinski said Vaki could do “anything an FBI dog can do.”

Photo: Riverhead Police Department.
Photo: Riverhead Police Department.

See story: K-9 collar: Riverhead officer and police dog credited for arrest in East Hampton Village.

Doscinski described Vaki’s style as energetic and driven, making him an invaluable member of the department that was capable of finding subjects that cops with all the rest of their equipment, including helicopters, would be unable to find.

Vaki became ill suddenly the day before his death, leaving Doscinski and his family in shock.

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Courtney Blasl
Courtney is a photographer, videographer, web designer and writer. She is a lifelong Riverhead resident.