SPOKANE, Wash. - They risk their lives to keep our communities safe. Tuesday, officers who've paid the ultimate sacrifice in Washington state will be honored, and this year, that will include their four legged partners.
Spokane police officers who are teamed with K9's rely heavily on them in the most dangerous situations, so the department is creating a permanent tribute to its fallen patrol dogs.
K9 Ciro has been patrolling our streets for just a few weeks. He was certified to work the street about a month ago. He's a friendly, playful dog, but when the 2-year-old is working, he's put in difficult situations.
“Usually they are the more in progress type calls, the robberies, the burglaries, people that are wanted running from police,” Spokane Police Department K9 Handler Craig Hamilton said.
Ciro is Hamilton's third K9 partner.
“It's probably the best job there is on the department,” he said.
But as much of a bond as there is between officers and their crime fighting partners, Hamilton says K9's are still just a tool.
“We would much rather send them into a dangerous situation than send in an officer,” Hamilton said.
That means these loyal, hardworking dogs sometimes get hurt or killed while keeping us safe. This year, Washington State Patrol dedicated a memorial to honor K9s who died in the line of duty.
As Tacoma Police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez and Kalama Police Chief Randall Gibson are honored in the Annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony Tuesday, Chelan County K9 Reefer and WSP K9 Patrick will be honored as well.
“It's a great honor that they are recognizing the K9s that are out there serving and unknowingly putting themselves at risk for us out there on the street,” Hamilton said.
The 30th Annual Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Public Safety building on West Mallon.
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