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Toppers career: 71 plus pounds of drugs seized
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RIPON – Topper will soon retire from Ripon Police Department’s K-9 Unit.

But the aging male black Labrador will need approval from the Ripon City Council for his future plans.

At tonight’s meeting, elected leaders could clear the way for Topper to be adopted by his handler, Officer Gordon West. An approval is needed by council since the drug detection K-9 initially came as a generous donation from the Ripon Rotary Club in 2005. Back then, Topper was just 2 years old.

His first partner was the late Officer Robert Winget, who died of injuries sustained in an ATV accident while patrolling a remote area near the Stanislaus River in April 2007.

Topper, who received special training in narcotics – he was certified to locate methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy – was then teamed with Officer West.

For five years, they patrolled the city and participated in many task forces and assisted allied agencies.

In the over 1,200 searches, Topper has helped officers seize 56 pounds of cocaine, 13 pounds of marijuana, 24.5 ounces of methamphetamine, 69 ecstasy pills, 1,425 prescription pills, and seven firearms including an AK-47.

Topper’s narcotic detection certification is expiring. His age is also a factor.

If approved, West will be allowed to adopt Topper for a nominal fee and would be responsible for any associated required in the adoption process.

The Ripon Police Department, in turn, is in the process of obtaining donations to purchase another drug detection K-9 to fill the void left by Topper’s retirement.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 259 N. Wilma Ave.