Morpheus could often be found meeting members of the community, including these Cub Scouts.

Morpheus could often be found meeting members of the community, including these Cub Scouts.

Photo provided by Joe Wojcik

Shelby Township police K-9 Morpheus dies at 8

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published July 24, 2023


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Police Department recently announced the death of its well-known K-9 officer, Morpheus, who the department said died June 1 from natural causes.

Morpheus was 8 years old — less than a month from turning 9 — and got to experience many different things throughout his police career.

The Shelby Township Police Department had two K-9 handlers and deployed two dogs, both German shepherds. K-9 Morpheus and K-9 Niko both came to the department from Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania as highly trained, dual-purpose police dogs. The police K-9 officers live at home with their handlers, and they are as comfortable pursuing suspects as they are hanging out at township functions and posing for pictures with children.

The Shelby Township Board of Trustees welcomed Morpheus to the community Dec. 1, 2015. Sgt. Joseph Wojcik, then an officer, helped Morpheus take his oath and became his handler.

Morpheus has been a part of the Shelby Township Police Department since he was 15 months old.

Together, they both accomplished many feats in their six years and nine months on the road together, whether that was tracking criminals in the middle of the night, taking kilos of narcotics off the street or simply educating the community on the K-9 unit through meet-and-greets or demonstrations.

Wojcik said he would want Morpheus to be remembered for the job he did.

“He had a fierce reputation when working the road. Everyone knew who Morpheus was. Not only Shelby police officers, but officers from surrounding departments also knew who Morpheus was because of his ability to track down bad guys and his no-nonsense approach to working the streets. Morpheus was always about the job, and he was always very successful at it no matter what it was that I asked of him,” Wojcik said.

He said as far as life goes, Morpheus will be sorely missed.

“He was a family member to me, my best friend and my partner. The bond and memories we shared can never be taken from me. I loved him with all my heart, and there will never be a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. There will never be another like Morpheus,” said Wojcik.