The police k9 is an icon of law enforcement. These brave dogs don’t volunteer or enlist to become crimefighters, it is a responsibility that is thrust upon them. Every day, they put their lives on the line to serve and protect both the citizens of a community and their human partners. Sometimes, fulfilling that duty comes at an incredible cost.
During this National Police Week, the American Canine honors those K9 officers who have fallen with a look at one of the many memorials to canine officers.
The drive for Portland’s K9 Memorial began after K9 Mick died in the line of duty in 2014.
Mick was just 17-months old when he and his handler, Officer Jerry Dorn, came under fire from a man wielding an AR-15. During the gun battle, the German Shepherd took a fatal bullet. He was found several hours after the shootout under a neighbor’s hedge. Hundreds of mourners turned out for his memorial ceremony.
Another name also adorns the memorial. K9 Argos was the first Portland canine officer killed in the line of duty. The 3-year-old German Shepherd had more than eighty apprehensions to his credit when he and handler Rod Lucich responded to a call of shots fired at a North Portland home back in 1987. When officers arrived, the gunman came out of the house shooting. Argos was hit and died enroute to an emergency clinic, exactly one year from his first capture, June 5, 1986.
Loki and I were honored to be able to visit the site and pay our respects to the dogs who have served this city so bravely. Portland has eight police dogs in service as of this writing, according to the city website.
The memorial statue was designed by Portland artist, Richard Moore III, and was unveiled in a ceremony during National Police Week in 2017. It is located in front of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office on Burnside Avenue.
Every day, in all areas of law enforcement, countless canines stand the thin blue line alongside the men and women in blue. They sniff out drugs, weapons, and contraband. They track down missing people and lost children. They get in life or death struggles with criminals who want to do them harm. Then, at the end of the shift, they become part of the family of the officers with whom they serve, and get ready to do it again the next day. Sometimes, they don’t come home. You can read some of the stories of those fallen heroes at the Officer Down Memorial Page.
You can read about Loki and my visit to the Ohio Police Dog Memorial here.