A Special Kind of Hero
Last week, one of the FBI working dogs, Freddy, was killed in the line of duty while federal agents raided the hideout of men suspected of involvement with an organized crime ring and who were also allegedly part of a radical Islamic sect. Freddy was killed in the crossfire exchanged by the agents and suspects.
Freddy was flown by helicopter to the Veterinary Emergency Service in Madison Heights, Illinois. The helicopter landed right in front of the hospital, stopping traffic and startling people as Freddy was rushed inside for treatment. It was too late.
Freddy, a Belgian Malinois, was born in February 2007 and received law enforcement training at Quantico, Va. He joined the FBI in September 2008. In a statement, the FBI memorialized Freddy saying, “In the line of duty, Freddy gave his life for his team. He will be missed by his FBI family.”
The agency plans to hold a memorial service for Freddy at the Bureau’s headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, and will have his name added to their memorial wall.
Working dogs for law enforcement are highly trained and are intensely loyal to their handlers. They live with their handlers as part of the family. They even go on vacation with the family. But keep in mind that these dogs are not household pets. They have a job, and it’s the toughest job in the world for any animal. Police dogs trained to subdue violent suspects are trained in aggression and this training includes how to keep this aggression in check. If you have even been on the wrong end of a police or protection dog, it will take you less than 2 seconds to see a force you’re not likely to mess with.
At any given day, there are thousands of police dogs on the job. And hundreds of police dogs have given their lives to protect and serve.
Across the country, there are many memorial sites dedicated to working law enforcement dogs killed in the line of duty. There are about 15 states have police dog memorials, mostly on the campuses of veterinary schools. A few are:
“Ready to Serve” – the Virginia Law Enforcement K-9 Memorial outside the Virginia-Maryland Regional School of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech. Recently unveiled, it honors police dogs in Virginia that have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Miami-Dade Police K-9 Memorial – dedicated on August 14, 2009 at Tropical Park to memorialize and honor all of the police canines that have served Miami-Dade County and the seven that died serving the citizens of Miami-Dade County.
The Arizona Police K-9 Memorial – unveiled and dedicated on April 7th, 2006, at the Wesley Bolin Plaza. The purpose of the memorial is to honor Arizona Police K-9’s who gave their life in the line of duty. Names of the canines are listed who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and have died in service, along with the poem Guardians of the Night.
At the Connecticut Work Dog Association website, there is a list of police dog memorials across the country. These also include memorials to military working dogs. Check out the ones around or in your state.
Engraved on a walkway in front of the sculpture of the new memorial at the School of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech are the words, “So that you may live, my life is yours.”
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
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