MANCHESTER – Members of the township police department, particularly his former partner and handler, Officer Marc Micciulla, were devastated by the death of recently retired K-9 Officer Storm.
The black German Shepherd had just been honored during a recent Township Council meeting with a retirement proclamation read by Mayor Robert Hudak. Micciulla noted that Storm began his service on January 23, 2015 having been imported from the Netherlands as a 19-month-old by the Green Leaf Pet Resort/Shelly’s School for Dogs.
Storm died on November 1 from canine health complications. Due to health issues, Storm has been at home with Micciulla since January of 2021 and not officially “retired” until the ceremony when he received the proclamation.
Officer Micciulla and his family adopted Storm after he could no longer perform regular police duties and loved him to the fullest right up to the end. In a release by the Manchester Police Department it was noted that “we assure you that Storm spent the remainder of his days playing, getting belly rubs, and relaxing with his family. Thank you for your service, Storm. You will be missed by all.”
Police added that “K-9 Storm is officially 10-7 and we are fortunate that we were able to capture his last radio transmission on video. Storm has had an amazing career.”
His retirement was effective on October 7, and he played a critical role in police patrol operations, by tracking and locating missing persons, suspects and evidence, as well as narcotics detection. During his tenure, Storm responded to 70 Officer Protection Calls, performed 23 building searches, 45 tracks, 25 search warrants, and 180 narcotic sniffs/searches.
Storm assisted with the seizure of narcotics with a street value of $250,000, $90,000 in cash, 46 vehicles, and two firearms.
In his role as a D.A.R.E. officer, Micciulla solicited suggestions for names from his 5th grade students.
At no cost to taxpayers, Storm was purchased from Manchester’s Law Enforcement Trust Account fund which was comprised of revenue generated from seized and forfeited assets.
His proclamation noted, “dogs play a crucial role in patrol operations throughout Manchester and Storm served as a dual-purpose K-9 – trained in the areas of police patrol operations such as tracking and locating missing persons, suspects and evidence, as well as in narcotics detection.
Storm and Micciulla graduated from the New Jersey Police K-9 Association’s 16-week patrol class on June 26, 2015 and a 12-week scent class on January 8, 2016 where Storm was trained in the detection of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack methamphetamine and ecstasy.
The K-9 officer also assisted other law enforcement agencies including Lakehurst, Lakewood, Jackson, Toms River, Plumsted, Pemberton, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Even after undergoing surgery to remove his left eye due to a cancer diagnosis in 2020, K9 Storm continued to serve his community.
-Alyssa Riccardi contributed to this story