Jeg: Protecting, serving with four legs and a tail
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Jul. 12, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - They protect and serve us on four legs. Thursday, one of them died after something that happened on the job. He was a law enforcement K-9 named Jeg. Officers and citizens now honor his sacrifice and the work of his fellow furry co-workers.
The dogs sniff out drugs, bring down criminals, find explosives and search for victims. They are versatile pooches and companions to the humans who also protect and serve us.
“Canines go home with their officer every night,” Department of Public Safety Officer David Hopkins said Wednesday. “They're part of their family.”
“A lot of time spent,” said professional K-9 trainer Anthony Holcomb. “A lot of hours training. A lot of time getting to know the dog.”
“The humans have to learn how to work the dog, and the dogs have to learn how to communicate back with the human beings,” he said. “They're in the line of duty and in some dangerous situations.”
Dangerous situations that sometimes cost them their lives. Among the fallen: Rico, a DPS K-9 who died chasing suspected drug runners in southern Arizona. Bandit, on the Chandler police force, died in a hot squad car.
Other “Fallen Partners” are listed on the Arizona Police K-9 Memorial Web site.
Jeg, a DPS drug sniffer, was put down in Tucson Thursday after his officer forgot him in a hot patrol car the day before, the agency said.
"It is with sadness that we report that DPS K-9, Jeg, took a turn for the worse this morning," a DPS news release stated.
Local police departments declined to talk on camera Thursday, but told 9 On Your Side their officers were saddened and "heart broken" at the loss.
At a Tucson dog park, owners and citizens were saddened by the news.
“I would consider them commissioned by a higher source, giving them special power to take down the bad guys,” dog owner Dave McCormack said. “Pretty much everything that I see in the movies--that stuff is real.”
9 On Your Side asked several law enforcement agencies to share their general perspective on their K-9 counterparts Thursday. Every one declined, stating they're sensitive to what happened and that one of their fellow officers was responsible.
DPS, Tucson Police Department, Marana Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department have K-9 units, among others.