Honoring Fallen K-9s

dakota1

‘These K-9s are just so special’

KATU: Clark County law enforcement honored their fallen K-9 companions on Wednesday and now have a permanent reminder of the partners they have lost.

These K-9s are just so special,” Christ Sutter, Interim Police Chief for the Vancouver Police Department, told a crowd that had gathered at the East Precinct to dedicate a plaque for fallen K-9s of Clark County. “They not only protect our community but they literally protect the lives of our officers on high risk, very dangerous calls.

And sometimes a K-9 doesn’t survive one of those calls, as was the case in 2007 during a standoff in Brush Prairie, Wash. That’s when Dakota, a 5-year-old German Shepherd that worked with the Vancouver Police Department, was shot and killed.

The man who shot Dakota, Ronald J. Chenette, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009. His sentence was dictated by a ‘three strikes’ law that locks away felons for life after three violent crimes. His first two strikes were second-degree murder (he killed a drug dealer) and second-degree assault.

Bronze statue of Dakota, also pictured above.

Bronze statue of Dakota, also pictured above.

The loss of Dakota was a tough one for the department and especially for Officer Roger Evans, the dog’s handler. During a remembrance in 2007 following Dakota’s death, Officer Evans said “Dakota, thank you for being a great partner, a friend, companion, police dog. Thank you for protecting my fellow officers and me. Thank you for being a warrior and thank you for dying a hero. Dakota, you were a good boy.

In 2008, a Milwaukie artist created a sculpture of Dakota and it was put on display at the East Precinct. But other than the police officers who work there, no one really knew what it represented.

“Up until this time when people came into our lobby they saw this wonderful sculpture and we all knew what it was for – memorializing Dakota. But the public didn’t know,” Chief Sutter said.

A woman who stopped by the police department a few years ago to report a suspicious call on her cell phone took a special interest in Dakota’s statue and decided there should be something there to recognize the K-9, and the others that lost their lives while serving the public.

Jean Morris helped fund the creation of a plaque, which now sits next to Dakota’s statue and has his picture on it, and saw the project through to its completion. At the dedication, she received an honorary plaque of her own as a thank you from the police department. “I just feel really invested in it,” she said. “I’m just so pleased with the results and so absolutely stunned that I’m getting the attention that I am.”

“To have the community supporting our officers and our K-9 program means everything,” Chief Sutter said. “The members of the community have helped pay for our K-9s as we have needed to replace them – sometimes due to tragic circumstances, such as the death of Dakota, but in other circumstances too.”

The Vancouver Police Department has four K-9 teams. Officer Evans, who lost Dakota, now has a new K-9 partner, Eron.

“May you always run fast, bite hard, and fear nothing”.

DCG

3 responses to “Honoring Fallen K-9s

  1. dogs anyway yesterday in the news from new zealand somebody got some dogs from a shelter. took these dogs and taught them how to drive cars yes there is videos of dogs sitting on the wrong side of the seat (passenger side normally) however in these vehicles the steering wheel was on this side of the car and the dog was steering and driving the vehicle and the funny thing is how dogs pick up the mannerisms of humans and incorperate these traits into how they act… one dog seemingly was leaning toward the window as he drove with part of his foreleg resting on the window edge dogs can drive cars whats next dog cab drivers dog bus drivers dog school bus drivers

  2. It would be instructive if someone could follow the outcome of the convicted felon’s new life in prison. I believe that if he’s not already dead from assault/stabbing/whatever by other inmates, he will have been in so much jeopardy that he’s most likely been PCed for the rest of his time. And that’s fine, as it will teach him how others feel about his brutality to Dakota. I’m somewhat biased as my newer Pom is also named Dakota, but I’d feel the same regardless.

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