The is mourning the sudden loss of a member who officials say was truly something special: .
According to his partner, Det. Patrick Frezza, Cezar was diagnosed with stomach cancer in May. Despite the fact that veterinarians removed his spleen and the disease later spread, Cezar kept to his regular work schedule for the most part over the last few months.
He and Frezza — who have been with Brewster since 2008, and were partners for years before that with the Yonkers Police Department — patrolled the village streets three days a week. They were in for their regular shift on Thursday, and Cezar was himself — running around the station, excited to be at work.
But on Friday morning, Frezza knew something was very wrong. Cezar was unable to stand or walk. The next day, he took his 10-year-old partner to the Dutchess County Animal Hospital, where doctors, who donated their services, informed him that Cezar's lungs were filled with fluid — and there was nothing they could do. He was euthanized that morning.
"It happened so fast," Frezza said. "He went just like that."
BPD Chief John DelGardo and Village of Brewster Mayor Jim Schoenig both stressed how much Cezar meant to the department. The former called him an "exceptional dog," while the latter said he was among the best of the best when it comes to K-9 units.
In March, Frezza and Cezar at the 2011 U.S. Police Canine Association's Region 7 Narcotic Certification. That qualified them for the National Detector Trials, a competition that the pair participated in in 2006.
Although they did not attend this year, it wasn't long before Cezar and Frezza made headlines again. During a training exercise at a shipping facility the following month, : More than 10 pounds of pot in transit from Buchanan to California. Officials had not planted the package.
At times, other local law enforcement agencies called on Cezar and Frezza for help. The unit performed searches of a neighboring Putnam County school district last spring. They also worked with the New York State Police at times.
"He [Cezar] did his job well," Frezza said. "... He was my best friend. He went everywhere with me."
One of the toughest things Frezza has had to deal with over the past few days has been riding around — either on patrol or just on personal business, as the two did nearly everything together — without his partner in the backseat.
"It's a big loss to my family, too," he said, referring to his wife and two teenage children. Cezar lived with the Frezzas for most of his life.
The rest of the BPD is feeling that sadness, too, DelGardo said. Cezar's passing marks the first death of a member of the department.
"We were very proud and very happy to have him," he told Patch. "I'd like to personally thank Frezza for making Cezar a part of this department. It really made our department into a real department with a K-9 unit."
Cezar's body will be cremated. Once they receive his remains, which will likely be within the next week or so, department members and officials will say goodbye during a ceremony outside the BPD office.
Frezza and DelGardo said it's still "too fresh" to consider the possibility of another K-9 in the future. Schoenig agreed, and said that while he is open to the possibility, no other K-9 could really replace Cezar.
"He was just one of a kind."