Log in

Rehn ends his APD career with Valor


Apopka Police Department Feature: Officer Paul Rehn

"Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life"… that saying has been around quite a while, but if it's true, then Paul Rehn is a prime example.

Rehn is a 20-year veteran of law enforcement, 19 of those years with the Apopka Police Department. But it was the last 16 years with the APD’s K-9 unit that have been the most rewarding for him.

“You’ve got to love dogs if you do this job," said Rehn. "You hang out with them 24/7. He’s at home with you. He comes to work with you. If you don't love them, it's not going to work out.”

Rehn, 46, is retiring from the APD this Friday. By Sunday, he will be on his way to his new home near Chattanooga, TN. However he will never forget his days with his four-legged partners; his latest K-9 companion is Valor, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois breed.

And he definitely loves dogs. In addition to Valor, he has four Australian Shepherds at home.

Rehn did not intend on being a K-9 handler when he attended the Police Academy at Seminole State College, but before he graduated, he knew his desired path.

“It started back at the academy,” he said. “They had something like a career day where they featured different jobs within the police department. They had a K-9 Unit there. I’ve always loved dogs, and I see them getting paid to play and work with dogs and I thought that must be for me.”

Rehn says he started with the APD just as they were beginning their K-9 unit, and he began as a handler in April of 2000. In that time, he has emerged as one of the experts in K-9 handling and training; gaining certification with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as a K-9 instructor and handler. He is also the longest serving K-9 handler in APD history.

Officer Rehn with his K-9 partner Valor, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois. Officer Paul Rehn with his former K-9 partner Neo.

Sergeant Brian Hall has been in charge of the APD K-9 unit since 2008, and has worked with Rehn for over 15 years. He praised his knowledge as a handler, trainer and his service to those involved in it.

“He is well known in the K-9 handler community,” said Hall. Lot’s of people rely on him. He gives and gives and gives. It’s extraordinary how many people he has touched throughout the years.”

The APD will miss his expertise and professionalism as an officer as well, according to APD Captain Randall Fernandez.

“Paul is an officer that others strive to emulate,” he said. “Not only is he a dedicated officer that is a role model to others, but his genuine dedication to the citizens of this community is something for which I have the greatest respect and admiration. Some people leave organizations and are soon forgotten, but Paul is one of those that will be remembered for years to come because of his positive impact on all around him.”

Fernandez will probably never forget the car-jacking call that he and Rehn both responded to a little over a month ago either.

Rehn tells the story of his pursuit of the suspect who had fled the car he stole, and was running away on foot when Rehn spotted him and drove towards him.

“I was in pursuit of him in the car, about to let the dog out to apprehend him when he turned and drew a gun and pointed it at me. I hit the brakes and waited for the shots to hit the car, but he turned and ran instead of firing. If I had let Valor out, he would have probably shot him. But it worked out well. He never shot directly at us.”

Officers on the scene joked with Rehn that he should take it easier with only a couple of months to go before retirement, but Rehn was hearing none of it.

“What’s the difference if you get killed on the first day, last day or any day of your career? I’m not voting for any of those days. But you do your job no matter what point it is in your career. It’s not in my nature to take it easy because I’m nearing retirement.”


Rehn has also been a fixture in the Apopka community. In fact his entire family resides in or near Apopka. He was born and raised here, graduating from Apopka High School in 1988. He is well known in the community, coaching both Pop Warner Football and Lacrosse in Apopka for years.

“It’s hard to go anywhere in Apopka where they don’t know him,” said Hall. “People always ask ‘where’s Paul or how’s Paul doing’?”

APD Chief Michael McKinley will also miss Rehn's service to both the APD and to Apopka.

“Paul has been a great asset to the Apopka Police Department and to the citizens of Apopka. His dedication and professionalism are exemplary. Paul has always been willing to help everyone he came in contact with, whether it was a citizen or another police officer. Paul's knowledge and experience will be missed, especially when it comes to what he has accomplished as a K-9 officer.”


Apopka Police Department


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here