Home Feature Farewell to Beloved K-9 Officer Max

Farewell to Beloved K-9 Officer Max

by Jesse Sanzari

People often say a dog is a man’s best friend. In this case, K-9 officer Max had several best friends during his time on duty at Montclair State University before he died on March 10.

Max, an 11-year-old golden retriever, had a long history of serving the public. After graduating from the New Jersey State Police K-9 course in 2008, he began his service at Montclair State as one of the first K-9s at the University Police Department. He was recognized for detecting the scent of narcotics.

Along with his handler, Officer William Comerro, Max helped conduct investigations on and off campus in such locations throughout Essex, Passaic and Somerset Counties. They’ve also assisted the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

“His training was relentless so that courts and judges would accept his detection of narcotics,” Capt. Kieran Barrett said. “Max gave countless demonstrations across New Jersey to schools, scout groups and police departments to both educate on the dangers of narcotics and also to demonstrate the impeachable evidence that a working dog in law enforcement could provide.”

K-9 dogs are trained to assist law enforcement in searching for drugs, among many other duties. They are extremely helpful in keeping the campus safe and many have recognized this such as freshman computer science major Kai Curtis.

“[I] think dogs are important on campus because it makes me feel secure and safe knowing that these dogs are trained to stop most situations,” said Curtis.

Max helped officers search for narcotics and his determination brought those breaking the law to justice. His cheerful disposition brought him close to his fellow officers through their efforts to keep the community safe.


Officer William Comerro and Max pose for a selfie.
Photo courtesy of William Comerro

Comerro also credited the K-9 for “making my career by making me a trained K-9 supervisor.” After working together for 10 years as partners, Comerro remembers Max as his “best friend [and] best partner.”

To honor his fallen partner, a plaque was hung in Max’s honor at the station to keep his memory alive for future generations.

Barrett also expressed how important Max was to the Montclair State community along with being a “good detective as well.”

“Max was a very easygoing dog that people loved to approach, and he gave them affection,” Barrett said.


From left to right: Chief Paul Cell, Officer William Comerro, Max and President Susan A. Cole pose for a photo.
Photo courtesy of Capt. Kieran Barrett

As a sworn member of the agency, the badge number that Max wore will be retired. According to Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington, a month of mourning will take place for Max for his efforts in keeping the Montclair State community safe.

“[He] meant the world to this agency and as with any dog, they become part of our family and there was never a glum face when Max entered headquarters,” Barrett said. “He will be sorely missed by all.”


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