Monday night, the Hinesville Police Department and friends gathered to say their final goodbyes to K9 Officer Brad .
The canine was put down and finally laid to rest on Saturday in Orange Park, Florida after tripping and shattering his front left leg less than a week ago. It was the latest in a list of painful, pre-existing injuries that the K9 obtained while serving the Hinesville community. Officer Brad's handler says those injuries included a hip displacement and two bulging disks. After struggling on the road with those injuries for a year, the handler says the possibility of cancer in the canine's leg and a subsequent amputation would have meant more pain for Officer Brad. So the decision was then made to put the canine down.
Officer Brad was born in Poland on February 4, 2007. He was handpicked and brought to the United States, where he was trained at a North Carolina K9 kennel. He went on to became the first certified K9 Police Officer at the Hinesville Police Department.
On October 8, 2008, Officer Brad was partnered with Corporal Mark Matthews. On February 16, 2011 Matthews passed away and Officer Brad went to a new handler, Special Patrol Officer Tony Durham.
Durham shared these emotional word's at Monday's memorial service, "I spent more time with Brad, basically more time than with my family. People often say K9s, are tools, but to me Brad was my K9 and my friend. You just can't help being a K9 officer not getting attached to your partner. I trusted him with my life. I knew if there was ever a problem on a stop or something went bad, I'd bail him out the car and he'd come to me. He would be there no matter what."
In the five years that K9 Officer Brad spent with the Hinesville Police Department, he assisted in more than 300 drug related arrests and was key in helping convict two murderers. Officer Brad also helped recovered stolen merchandise and solved numerous burglaries by trailing the criminals. Plus, he defused possible violent incidents keeping fellow officers and Hinesville citizens safe.
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