100 Years Ago: 1924

Sunday morning was the “coldest ever known” on Quaker Road in Leeds, as the thermometer registered 27 below zero. On account of the extreme cold and drifted road, neighbors from this way were unable to attend a social at Mr. Bean’s on Saturday evening.

50 Years Ago: 1974

(Sun Journal photo) Mrs. Murray Lothrop and Mrs. Richard Varney are co-chairmen of the Taste Supper being sponsored by the Association of Unitarian-Universalist Women at the First Universalist Church in Auburn. The event is taking place at the church at 5:30 Friday afternoon, Feb 8. Members of the assisting committee are Mrs. Frank A. Kember, Mrs. Robert Thorpe and Mrs. Judy Agnew, who will work in the kitchen, also members of the Senior Liberal Religious Youth.

25 Years Ago: 1999

Not every police officer has a partner who eats off the floor, sleeps at the foot of a bed and sometimes has to be forced to bathe.


Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Cpl. James Jacques is teamed up with such a character, a 3 year-old Belgian Malinois named Cocoa. “She goes everywhere I go,” Jacques said. “Everybody knows her by name now, and if she’s not with me, people wonder why.”

Cocoa is much more than a loyal pet. The pooch completed 12 weeks of patrol training and another five weeks of drug training with Jacques. Cocoa can detect drugs in a car or a building or on a person. She can stop someone who tries to run from police, and she can hunt for lost or hiding people. She can also help police get control of a riot.

“She’s always watching what’s going on,” Jacques said. “She’s great. You can’t have a dog that’s over-aggressive, but it has to have the motivation to go through the training. It has to handle stress well because it’s stressful work.”

Small, but energetic and alert, Cocoa has had plenty of work since she graduated from drug school in October. Jacques and Cocoa are often called out to help other departments on a variety of cases.

The Maine Drug Enforcement  Agency has called the pair out on several searches. Cocoa’s powerful nose can detect marijuana, hashish, cocaine, crack and heroin. She’s learning how to sniff out hallucinogenic mushrooms and other drugs, too, Jacques said.

“I’ve used her with just about every police department in Androscoggin County,” Jacques said. “These dogs are so energetic. They need a lot of activity. They love work.”


On a normal day it’s just Jacques and Cocoa in a patrol car on county roads. When a routine traffic stop turns troublesome or a suspect tries to bolt, the dog is there for backup.

“No. 1 is officer safety, of course,” Jacques said. “It’s like having a partner with you.”

Cocoa will wait in the car while Jacques approaches a vehicle. If there’s trouble, the officer can release the dog with a button attached to his belt.

“Her eyes are glued on me through the car window,” Jacques said. “I have a door popper, and if I open it up, the dog jumps out and she’s immediately looking for someone who’s running away.”

Normally it doesn’t come to that. Anyone thinking about running away comes to the conclusion that he’ll lose the foot race with Cocoa.

One such suspect appeared ready to run, Jacques recalled, until the officer opened the cruiser door with the remote-control device.

“The guy turned around, he saw the dog and he stopped,” Jacques said. “The use of police service dogs does, in fact, reduce the likelihood of either the officer or the suspect resorting to deadly force.”

The material used in Looking Back is produced exactly as it originally appeared although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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