Memorials to Fallen K-9s 
  2000 page 6
 F.A.S.T. Co. donates cards to all partners 
of all working dogs/horses sent by priority mail

Patience please...worth the time to see K-9s downloading
In Loving Memory of
Dutch Shepherd
July 17, 2000

Partner:   Officer James Thomas
Indianapolis Police Dept. IN
901 North Post Road
Indianapolis, Indiana  46219
(317) 327-6696

Officer Thomas left the IPD 
after the death of Valco.
Good Luck in what ever you're doing. 

Sorry, no photo of Valco,
but this is a Dutch Shepherd.
Officer Thomas left the department,
returned but not to the K9 unit.

K-9 Slain in Drug Bust of 85-Year-Old
Cops Say Friendly Fire Claimed Life of Rookie Police Dog 
By Seamus McGraw INDIANAPOLIS ( -- Police are mourning the death of a canine gunned down by a confused officer in a raid on the home of a suspected 85-year-old drug dealer, police said. Rookie police dog Valco, a Dutch Shepherd, became the first police dog killed in action in the city's history during a raid on the home of Charles Howard on Monday night, Sgt. Paul Ciesielski said. "He got away from his handler, and one of officers thought it was a strange dog coming at him," Ciesielski said. "It's not the first time we've shot a strange animal, but it is the first time since the canine unit was established in 1961 that a police dog has died in the line of duty."A history of drug busts: It happened at about 9 p.m. as plainclothes officers were preparing to serve Howard, a senior citizen with a history of drug arrests dating back more than a decade, with a warrant charging him with marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia, Ciesielski said. Police had decided to bring Valco along for an extra measure of security, he said. "We often use police dogs in drug arrests," Ciesielski said, both for their commanding presence and because " if a suspect runs, a dog can chase him better than we can." Dog breaks free , but Valco, who joined the department's canine unit less than a year ago, broke free of his handler at precisely the same moment officers were preparing to rush Howard's door. One of the officers saw the dog running toward him, wrongly believed that it was an attack dog sent by the suspect, and shot and killed it, Ciesielski said. Howard gave up without a fight, Ciesielski said. Bail information on the man was not immediately available. It was not immediately clear what, if anything, the department planned to do to honor the slain pooch. "That hasn't been decided yet," Ciesielski said. "We feel that we ought to do something. Regardless of the circumstances, he did die in the line of the duty."
In Loving Memory of
July 22, 2000

Belgian Malinois
Officer Wayne Cooper
City of Miami PD, FL
Miami-Dade Police Department
South Operations Division
9105 Northwest 25th Street
Miami, FL 33172-1500 USA

Telephone: +1-305-471-3165
         Fax: +1-305-471-2626

On July 22, 2000 at approximately 2340 hours, Officer Cooper & K-9 Atlas responded into the area of NW 22nd Ave. & 35th St. in reference to a "be on the look out for." the BOLO issued by Officer Jennifer Wing, was for a dark skinned Hispanic male that had just committed an armed car jacking. The vehicle taken was a 1987 Buick Regal 2 door with tinted windows & gold rims. Office Wing also advised that the vehicle was equipped with an auto kill switch, which would shut the engine off within a couple of minutes. With this information Officer Cooper began looking for the vehicle within a 5 block radius. Officer Cooper spotted the vehicle as it turned north onto 19th Ave. The officer turned behind the vehicle just as the security system kicked in and killed the engine. As both vehicles came to a stop, the suspect exited the stolen  vehicle. Officer Cooper exited his marked patrol car, he ordered the suspect to stop and place his hands on the car. The suspect disregarding the orders and ran through an opening in a nearby school fence. As the suspect ran in a southeasterly direction, Officer Cooper gave chase with K9 Atlas trotting beside him. As officer & K-9 were running behind the suspect, he pulled a blue steel revolver from his waistband firing one round in the officers direction. Until then K-9 Atlas did not even know why they were running. He was just following his handlers' order to "come." After hearing the shot ring out, K-9 Atlas immediately keyed in on the suspect and gave chase as he had been trained to do as officer was returning ire. As the suspect was about to exit the field, through  a gate leading onto 36th St., K-9 Atlas leaped up to apprehend the suspect. The suspect turned and fired another round at K-9 Atlas. Atlas' momentum forced him and the suspect to fall against the fence. The suspect got up and continued running. Although wounded, K-9 Atlas regain his composure and continued pursuing the suspect with such tenacity that his handler was unaware of Atlas injuries until he noticed a large pink mass hanging from his side. Office Cooper recalled K-9 Atlas as he kept an eye on the suspect and directed arriving officers to the suspects location. Realizing that he had no where to go, the suspect surrendered without further incident. Realizing that K-9 Atlas was seriously wounded and that his vehicle was some distance away. 
Officer Wing drove over to the K-9 team, put them in her vehicle and sped them to Knowles Animal Hospital, where Atlas later expired in surgery as doctors tried to repair his ruptured stomach and liver and a collapsed lung. Although K-9 Atlas lost his life for his actions, it is because of his actions that Officer Cooper still has his life so that he can continue to patrol the streets of Miami and go home at shifts end to his family. Officer Cooper and K-9 Atlas, a 2 year old Belgian Malinois, was the newest team of the City of Miami's 17 handler/dog team units. On the streets for less than two months, the team was credited with the apprehension of 16 felons before this encounter. At 54 lb., K-9 Atlas was the smallest dog in the unit, but had one big heart. K-9 Atlas was the first K-9 ever killed in the line of duty in the history of the Miami Police Department. K-9 Atlas was awarded the "Medal of Honor" and the "Purple Heart" by the department. Officer Cooper was awarded the Medal of Valor for the actions of K-9 Atlas at the United States Police Canine Associations National Award Banquet. 

Officers bid farewell to heroic K-9
During the service for Atlas, Officer Cooper's wife, Brandy, cried in the background. Seated beside her, the couple's two sons, Daniel, 9, and Jonathan, 7.
Just as the ceremony was ending Tony Guzman, owner of Metro-Dade K-9 Services -- which supplies police dogs to South Florida officers -- sprung a surprise. He marched forward with Tom, a 2 1/2-year-old Malinois -- Cooper's new partner. ``We've got a new baby,'' cried Brandy. Police dogs live at home with their handlers.
Emotional, but holding back the tears, Cooper petted Tom's head as the dog leaned heavily against his new handler's right leg. Tom's tongue swaying in the heat, and sticking far out of his mouth. ``He looks great,'' Cooper said. ``If he has as much heart as my last dog, we'll get along just great."

Officer Cooper had expressed his gratitude for the cards and wished that I passed it along. He has a new partner and a foundation has been established by a woman in Ft. Lauderdale to buy vests for our  dogs,  it's called the Atlas Guardian Foundation.I can also send you the speech I wrote for the service , it details the events of that night as well as a few other words......On behalf of the Miami Police Department K-9 Unit,
I would sincerely wish to express our thanks and gratitude for the cards. If you need anything else in the future you can reach me at this Email address. The station does'nt have one,
but this is my own personal home address.........
Thanks again, Sincerely Sgt. Timothy Fell

  June, 2001
A celebration erupted out the Metro Justice Building in Miami. The wife of Miami Officer Wayne Cooper rejoiced after hearing about the guilty verdict against David Soto. Miami Police officers left the courthouse with smiles on their faces. “I’m very happy,” said Officer Wayne Cooper of the verdict. It was Cooper’s K-9 partner, Atlas, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Now, suspect, David Soto has been found guilty of four felonies for a carjacking, murder of the K-9 and attempted murder of Officer Cooper. “He got what he deserved. He got what he deserved. He wrote his own fate and he got it,” added Officer Copper. Jurors said they had to send a message that killing a police dog is similar to killing a police officer. “My dog is part of my family… and I treat my dog as a human being,” said jurors Sharon Peters. Jurors obviously did not believe that Soto, as his lawyers claim, was just a witness to the shooting. Soto will be sentenced next month. He could face life in prison.


WPLG-TV, Miami

An appeals court is giving a second chance to a man who was convicted of trying to kill a police officer and ended up killing a police dog. In July 2000, David Soto was being chased by Officer Wayne Cooper when he shot at the officer. Instead of hitting Cooper, the bullet hit and killed K-9 officer Atlas Soto was convicted and sentenced to life for attempted murder. An appelate judge has ordered that Soto be resentenced because the original judge based his decision on Soto's lack of remorse. Cooper is not thrilled with reopening part of the case. "I feel pretty confident that the evidence against him was good and I think he'll probably wind up getting the same sentencing. It just brings up some memories and I don't see why they're going to waste taxpayers money to do this," he said. Cooper's new partner, Andor, has been with him for almost two years now. He was given to the police department after Atlas' death.

In Loving Memory of
K-9 Shierkhan
September 1, 2000

Partner:  Officer Mike Lewis
Seattle Police Dept K-9 Unit, WA
206 684.7472  Sgt. office and leave message...

Mike Lewis with son, with tears during memorial service for Shierkhan.
The police mourn a fallen K-9 officer 
Friday, September 1, 2000
In his short but impressive career, he was known as the officer who thought nothing of crawling through brambles for evidence.
He was the one who eagerly chased armed suspects into scary buildings, while his partner lingered behind. Over the years, he racked up 83 arrests and handled 1,700 calls for service.But his favorite thing to do was making a mad dash for the cookies behind the clerk's desk. Seattle police Officer Mike Lewis reacts to comments at a memorial service for his fallen partner, police dog Shierkhan. Lewis' 7-year-old son, TJ, sits next to him. Gilbert W. Arias/P-I  Yesterday, Shierkhan, a Seattle police dog, was honored by more than 200 officers from Vancouver, B.C., to Longview at a memorial service. A 4 year-old German shepherd, Shierkhan was killed last week while tracking a pair of carjackers. He was hit by a car. At the service, officers wept. An honor guard saluted him. His K-9 brethren, including Talon and Radar, stood at attention. "An unbelievable bond formed between Shierkhan and I. His love was unconditional," said partner Mike Lewis, his voice cracking. "I miss you goofball, and I'll see you in heaven someday." Lewis took Shierkhan home every night, and he recalled how his partner would whine and pace with excitement when it was time to go to work. "He would say, 'Hey, I don't want to take a night off. I want to chase bad guys. And catch them he did."Officers and friends lauded the role of police dogs as "noble, loyal public servants." Atttorney Ted Buck, who often represents Seattle officers, said the dogs serve not for money but "for kibble, for a belly scratch, for an atta boy." "We live in an age where we are witnessing the demise of the common hero," he said. "Isn't it ironic that in a dog's life, in a police dog's life, we find perhaps the most glorious exception to (that) demise."
Shierkhan, whose first big arrest was of a fast-food restaurant robber, was also heralded as one of the department's "finest ambassadors" in schools, community fairs and nursing homes. 
"We're all going to miss Shierkhan, but the citizens of Seattle will miss Shierkhan the most," police Officer Bruce Wind said. "Because bad guys are going to get away because Shierkhan is no longer here."
A police dog remembered
by Anne Koch  Seattle Times staff reporter
A Seattle police dog that befriended countless elementary school children and caught 83 bad guys before he was killed on the job last week was remembered yesterday during an unusual and touching memorial service. More than 200 police officers and others turned out at the auditorium of the former Sand Point naval base to honor 4-year-old German shepherd Shierkhan and pay tribute to the Police Department's close-knit K-9 unit, including Shierkhan's handler and partner, Officer Mike Lewis. Some K-9 officers came from police agencies as far away as British Columbia. The 45-minute service included songs, prayers, a video presentation, an appearance by the department's honor guard and remarks from Seattle's new police chief, Gil
Kerlikowske.  "To some of you, it may seem a bit strange: a memorial for a dog," said Officer Bruce Wind, a former K-9 officer who addressed the audience. "But why are we really here? ... We are here to show support for Officer Mike Lewis. We are here because ... cops stick together. We are family, and one of our own is having a tough time right now." Yesterday's service also was an opportunity to reflect on what many outside the department don't realize: how crucial police dogs are to officers - what a vital role they play in police work.  "The ability of a police dog to track something that the rest of us can't even see is amazing," Wind said. "We're all going to miss Shierkhan, but the citizens of Seattle are going to miss him the most. There will be a lot of bad guys who are going to get away because Shierkhan is no longer here."  Sgt. Carol Minakami, who heads the department's 14-member K-9 unit, said Shierkhan possessed the self-confidence and balance that good police dogs must have. The animals must be gentle and relaxed enough to give demonstrations to schoolchildren but aggressive, sharp and fast enough to catch criminals. "You can look at 100 dogs and (only) get one good police dog," she said. Shierkhan, who had served with the department since January 1998, died last Friday night after he was hit by a car on Interstate 5 while tracking a suspect in a robbery and carjacking. The dog's death was only the second dog fatality in the roughly 30-year history of the department's K-9 unit.  Shierkhan's death has deeply affected Lewis and every other K-9 officer.  "It's one of the things that we all dread," said Officer J. Moyer. "We're closer to our dogs than we are to most people. You end up sharing dangers together. You're working even more closely as a team than with a human (police) partner. The dog leads you. He's an extension of your senses. You're using those things so both of you can go home at the end of the night."  Like the department's other police dogs, Shierkhan lived with his handler, Lewis, who is married and has three young sons.  Yesterday, Lewis told the audience how grateful he was to have worked with "the best partner - the best friend that anyone could ever have." "I miss you," Lewis said. "I'll see you in heaven, someday."

Sgt. Carol Minakami of the Seattle K9 Unit
called me after the memorial service. Over 250 people attended the sad ceremony. There were K9's & officers from many other states plus Canada, and civilians. Thank you Carol, your phone call meant so much to me. I hope the service helps heal Mike, his wife and family of 3 young children. We care!

A most appreciated 
Thank you note from the Seattle K-9 Corps 

In Loving Memory of
September 15, 2000
Officer Keri Bauer
North Huntingdon, PA Police Department
Administrative Office 
11279 Center Highway 
North Huntingdon, PA 15642 
(724) 863-3806 
Police Department (724) 863-8800

"K-9 Lazer. Gone but not forgotten."
Officers honor fallen four-legged comrade 
By Jan Ackerman, Post-Gazette Staff Writer 
Thursday, September 21, 2000
With pomp and circumstances usually reserved for public figures, the North Huntingdon police memorialized a four-legged member of their department at an elaborate service at a township park yesterday.
A tribute to K-9 Lazer. (Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette)
K-9 Lazer, a 9-year-old German shepherd, got a send-off into dog eternity yesterday in a ceremony that included a bagpipe player, a state police helicopter fly-over, a three-gun salute and a 40-car funeral procession made up mostly of police from jurisdictions as far away as South Fayette, Charleroi and California, Pa. It was a unique experience for the Rev. Mark Fischer of the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in North Huntingdon. Never before had Fischer, chaplain for the township police, led a memorial service for a dog. "He is not just a dog: This is an officer who died. Every day this dog worked, he put his life on the line just like we put our lives on the line," said North Huntingdon K-9 Patrolman William Sombo, who helped to organize the service. K-9 Lazer, a seven-year veteran of the North Huntingdon police department, was still working at the time of his death but did not die in the line of duty. He died Sept. 15 after he got into a box of kitty litter and ate it. He underwent surgery and came out of the anesthesia but then suffered from a gastrointestinal event that caused his stomach to "flip," Sombo said. Sombo said Lazer served his community well, sniffing out drugs, apprehending criminals, finding lost children and showing up at programs for youngsters at local schools.  For working with Lazer, North Huntingdon K-9 officer Kari Bauer was named the No. 1 female K-9 officer in America for four years, Sombo said.

Thank you Keri, your note has meant so much
to Bob & I. Appreciate knowing we were of some comfort.
Let us know when/if you get another K9. There is
a new partner out there that needs you.
A Tribute To Lazer: 
 (Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette)
"He was my best friend, my son, my world," said Bauer, 34, who had been Lazer's partner and handler since he started in 1993. Looking stricken, she sat stoically at the service at Oak Hollow Park, then tearfully accepted condolences from fellow officers and friends."He went on vacation with me. He was home with me. He was with me all the time," said Bauer, who hid her tears behind a pair of sunglasses.  The service had all the trappings of the typical funeral. It brought together folks who hadn't seen each other for some time. Some of the officers took group photographs, but some of their police dogs behaved like skittish relatives who hadn't seen each other since the last funeral. They barked fiercely at each other as they waited for the parade to begin.  "It is important to be here," said Homestead Patrolman David Smoley. "Lazer was a fellow police officer." Some officers came on their own time, before starting or after finishing their shifts, while others were being paid. Nearly all were driving municipal vehicles.  Homestead K-9 officer Jeffrey DeSimone said his department had four officers, two dogs and three cars at the memorial service. He said three of the four officers were there on their own time. The fourth officer got permission to leave his daylight shift early so he could attend the service.  At about 12:45 p.m., three police motorcycles led a cavalcade of about 40 vehicles, mostly patrol cars with their lights flashing, slowly out of the North Huntingdon police station. The procession traveled through the community of Irwin to a picnic grove in Oak Hollow Park, a township park, about 10 minutes away. There, on a little table, was a photograph of Lazer flanked on each side by vases of fresh roses, carnations and irises. His dog collar and police badge hung off the frame. His leash lay on the table, alongside some photographs, a framed poem and a little box containing the remains of Lazer, who had been cremated.  As guests settled into folding chairs, the voice of Elvis singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" blared from a set of speakers. Police handed out memorial brochures that contained poems for fallen K-9 dogs.  A lone bagpiper, Charles Gledich, played "Amazing Grace" as he marched through a column flanked by about 30 canine officers with their dogs. Several poems were read. Two Norwin Senior High School band members played taps.  Most of the dogs were well behaved until a triple volley was fired from the opposite hillside. Gunfire made them jittery, sending them into a chorus of barking.  Admittedly uncertain about what his role should be, Fischer called the chaplain of the Pittsburgh police to get some ideas for his eulogy to the crowd of more than 125 people, mostly police officers.  He ended up talking about the difficulties of being a police officer, manpower shortages and burnout, departmental and office politics, and concerns that hang over most departments about who gets promoted and who doesn't.  "Lazer's only concern when that collar and badge went around his neck was to 'protect and serve.' It never occurred to him that he didn't get promoted or demoted. Budgets, shortages, politics never entered his mind. Whether people understood him or not was not a concern," Fischer said. "He was a living example of single-minded devotion."  Sombo seemed ready to deflect any criticism about the event. He defended the department's decision to hold such an elaborate memorial service, saying that K-9 Lazer was well known and much loved in the community. Some merchants' signs along Route 30 seemed to support that. On several placards in North Huntingdon was posted:"K-9 Lazer. Gone but not forgotten."

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