In Memory of Bill Faus Jr.
Police dog group honors Elkhart K-9 Officer
Fri, May 24, 2002
By Trevor Wendzonka
ELKHART -- When he was growing up, Bill Faus Jr. saw his dad working with police dogs. He was sold on a line of work and a way of life. After 15 years on the Elkhart Police Department, almost every day spent working with the K-9 unit, Faus received a surprise honor Thursday -- the first lifetime service award from the International Police Work Dog Association.
Service honored: Elkhart police Sgt. Bill Faus Jr. (left) wipes away a tear after getting a hug from Police Chief Pam Westlake (center) as Capt. Bill Faus Sr. looks over his son's award, the Bill Faus Jr. Lifetime K-9 Service Award. Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen
And from now on, the award will bear his name. "My dad let me run tracks with him when I was about 10 years old. It got into my blood ... and it's been my life," said Faus, a sergeant, who choked back tears throughout his short acceptance speech. "I'm going to keep this (plaque) close to where I'm at, for now. I want my boys to see it." Faus, 37, was diagnosed with non treatable cancer earlier this year, just a few months removed from earning the status of master dog trainer. He and his dad, Elkhart's uniform captain, are the only father-son team in the country with those credentials. "That was a very special moment, when he became master trainer, because it took several years to achieve. This is very special, too," Bill Faus Sr. said. "I found out the executive committee wanted to give him this award about a month ago. It was the hardest secret I ever kept in all my life. "He understands and relates so well to his fellow K-9 officers. They share a great respect." The state association began with 11 members and $200 after a discussion in Pittsburgh five years ago, according to group president Rick McQueary. Faus Jr. was a member from the start.
"You have shown leadership by exemplary professionalism," said McQueary, assistant chief of Greenwood Police. "... Bill, you're near and dear to my heart. You're like a brother to me, and you are the greatest." Officers from many departments, including Fort Wayne and Jeffersonville, made it to Elkhart for the ceremony. "Not a day goes by that someone involved with K-9 doesn't call my house. Their support through this has been great," Faus Jr. said. "I grew up with these guys as a kid. I learned from them. Without them, I would not have accomplished what I did." Members of the Faus family said they've appreciated all the community has done since Bill Jr.'s diagnosis, with cards, phone calls and the recent fundraising activities. "Bill's a very humble person, with a great love of dogs and police work. He would have done this regardless," said his wife, Lorene. "But what's been most important is, he didn't realize what he was doing for the community all those years. In his time of need, the community has been there for us, with their prayers and thank-yous."