Stephen C. Plum Jr., 38, of Warwick Township, Bucks County, a K-9 police officer for Warrington Township, former firefighter for the Abington and Roslyn Fire Companies, former emergency medical technician for the Second Alarmers Association and Rescue Squad of Montgomery County, and a decorated Marine veteran, died Monday, May 16, of cardiac arrest at his home.
Officer Plum, an award-winning eight-year veteran of the Warrington Township Police Department, worked on the two-man K-9 unit with his Dutch shepherd partner, Murphy, since 2018. Before that, he served with the department’s major incident response team and the narcotics unit and as a motorcycle highway patrolman.
Officer Plum created Warrington’s K-9 unit in 2018, became its supervisor, and was a popular liaison between the unit and other law enforcement departments and the community. He and Murphy, trained for patrol and search duties, assisted the state Attorney General’s Office, Philadelphia and Hatboro Police Departments, and other agencies during investigations.
In 2020, Officer Plum told 6ABC news: “Having [Murphy] around, it changes people’s attitudes. Us being able to get out there and see the kids and interact with them in a positive manner sets the tone for them later on in life. … I really enjoy making people happy.”
With his wife, Nancy, and others, Officer Plum organized fund-raisers for the K-9 unit, managed its popular Facebook page, and created activities to connect the unit with the public. Known as “K-9 Murphy’s human,” he declined a recent promotion to remain in the unit and, when COVID-19 shut down schools and day care in 2020, read stories aloud on Facebook videos to occupy and reassure restless children.
He also helped the Hatboro Police Department organize its K-9 unit and served on the occupational advisory committee for protective services for the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Willow Grove. Before Warrington Township, he was a police officer for SEPTA and Rockledge Borough.
Officer Plum was described by police officials as having the “perfect combination” of work ethic and compassion. In one of hundreds of online tributes, a friend said: “He was the sweetest guy and such a role model for the children in our community.”
Born Oct. 11, 1983, in Abington, Officer Plum was the son of a Hatboro police officer. He grew up with dogs and talked often as a boy of working in law enforcement. He graduated from Abington High School in 2002, earned an online associate degree in criminal justice and was pursuing his bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.
He served in the Marines from 2003 to 2007, was a rifleman and corporal, and earned distinction while serving in Iraq.
He married Kathleen Doyle, and they had son Andrew. After a divorce, he married Nancy DeLucas, and they had sons Aiden, Wyatt, and Emmet and daughter Francesa.
Officer Plum and his wife met in a high school gym class, went their separate ways and reconnected in 2007. Both catchers during their athletic careers, they were married Oct. 10, 2010 — 10-10-10 — in recognition of their admiration for former Phillies catcher Darren Daulton, who wore No. 10.
Off the job, Officer Plum enjoyed camping, hunting, and tooling around on his ATV. He followed the Phillies, Flyers, and Penn State football and was a member of St. Cyril of Jerusalem Parish in Jamison and a former member of St. David Roman Catholic Church in Willow Grove. He and his wife doted on their family.
“He was known for his kindness, infectious laugh, smile, and big heart, which impacted everyone around him,” his family said in a tribute.
His wife said: “He had a great personality. Everyone knew of his love for being a policeman, and they let him be him.”
In addition to his wife, children, and former wife, Officer Plum is survived by his parents, Leslie Watt and Stephen C. Plum Sr., sister Jill, and other relatives.
Services were held May 27. Interment was at Washington Crossing National Cemetery.
Donations in his name may be made to the Warrington Township Police Department K-9 Unit, 2330 Lower Barnes Rd., Warrington, Pa. 18976, and Throw Away Dogs Project, P.O. Box 641, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 19006.