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K9 Lee – El Paso, Texas

Died 6/9/17
Handler – Officer Dirk Hiltl.

Decorated police K9 dies; helped seize $3.7 million in illegal drugs

A decorated narcotics detector dog with the El Paso Police Department died last week. General Lee served the city of El Paso for eight years along with his partner, Officer Dirk Hiltl. Lee was one of the most effective narcotics dogs in the police department’s narcotics unit, the department said. He was honored twice by the Texas Narcotic Officer Association as Canine of the Year in 2010-2011 and 2014-2015. During his years of service, Lee helped seize 33,000 pounds of marijuana, 750 pounds of cocaine, 100 pounds of heroin, 50 pounds of methamphetamine. The drugs seizure had a street value of $3,750,000. Lee worked from 2007-2015, when he was retired from active service with the narcotics unit. Lee continued his partnership with Hiltl, who cared for him until his passing on Friday. “K-9 Lee was a joy to work with every day and that Lee made him the Canine Handler that he is today,” Hiltl said. The Police Department said that K-9 Lee will be missed by all.Earlier this year, narcotics K-9 Ringo also died. Ringo served the police department with his partner, Officer Vargas for more than ten years. Ringo was also a decorated narcotic detector K-9; He and Officer Vargas were recognized by the Texas Narcotic Officer Association as Officer of the Year. “Ringo was always excited to go to work,” Officer Vargas said in April, “He was the greatest work partner anybody could have, and was worth his weight in gold.”

Submitted By Jim Cortina

James A. Cortina has been involved with police dogs since 1972 and currently on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Jim has been appointed as Treasurer since its inception in 1991. Jim is one of the charter members of the C.P.W.D.A. organization. Since 1975 he has been a certified professional dog trainer and received his Master Trainer Certification in 1985. During his career he has provided armed K-9 strike crowd control for security agencies in Connecticut and out of state security companies. In conjunction with other members of the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. Board of Directors, he helped to draft Connecticut Statute 53-247(e) “Intentional Injury or Killing of Police K-9” which was passed by the Senate in 1993 and also assisted in implementing the prestigious Daniel Wasson Memorial K-9 Award in 1992. In 1993 he helped coordinate the North American Police Work Dog Association Nationals in New London, Connecticut. He was appointed Training Director for the New London County Work Dog Association from 1985-1987. He performed decoy work for Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc. in police K-9 demonstrations, trained several local police department canines, and coordinated training workshops for out-of-state police departments. He participated in the United States Police K-9 Association Trials in Croton on Hudson, New York in 1985 as a decoy. He is an avid photographer and received photography awards in 1989, 1990, and 1991 and currently takes photographs for the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association Inc.