Washington City Police bids farewell to K-9 officer

Composite image | Photo of Hunter courtesy of the Washington City Police Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Hunter, Washington City Police’s first K-9 officer, has died, according to a statement from the Police Department Monday.

In this file photo, Washington City Police K-9 Hunter lays in the grass outside the Police Department during a press conference, Washington City, Utah, March 31, 2015 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

“It is with a heavy heart that we share with you the passing of our first K-9, Hunter,” the Police Department posted on its Facebook page Monday morning.

Hunter joined the Washington City Police Department in 2011 and retired in 2016. During that time he served as a narcotics dog while also being involved in suspect apprehensions.

In a particular narcotics bust Hunter and his handler, officer Josh Finona, were involved in, the K-9 located $100,000 worth of methamphetamine during the search of a storage until in March 2015.

Hunter, Washington City Police Chief Jim Keith said at the time, made a significant impact on the drug trade in the community and had been a valuable member of the team since day one.

Read more: K-9 units a law enforcement tool, training and networking vital to their work

“This is just one indication of the value of a K-9,” Keith said. “A human being cannot do the same thing that a K-9 can do.”

Video of the story is featured below. This post also continues below the video.

Following retirement in 2016, Hunter stayed with his handler and eventually developed an age-related illness before dying, the Department Police wrote.

“Rest easy Hunter, you will be sorely missed, and your service and influence will never be forgotten,” the police wrote.

Washington City Police is not without a K-9 officer, as Tank, a German Shepherd, was donated to the Police Department by the nonprofit group Havoc K9 in 2016.

Read more: Meet Tank, the newest K-9 officer for Washington City

Police K-9s are considered to be invaluable partners in police work and are highly valued by their handlers and respective police departments.

During the 2018 legislative session, police officers testified before lawmakers that the relationship between K-9 officers and their handlers is close. It is not uncommon for a handlers to spend more time with their K-9 partner than their own families, they said.

The testimonies were related to a bill that would make intentionally killing a police dog a second-degree felony with a potential prison term of up to 15 years.

Read more: Legislature passes bill increasing penalty for killing police dogs

The legislature passed the bill in February and it was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert last week.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.


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  • PatriotLiberal March 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

    RIP, Hunter. Your watch is over.

    “The Final Inspection”
    By: Author Unknown

    The policeman stood and faced his God,
    Which must always come to pass.
    He hoped his shoes were shining.
    Just as brightly as his brass.

    “Step forward now, policeman.
    How shall I deal with you?
    Have you always turned the other cheek?
    To My church have you been true?”

    The policeman squared his shoulders and said,
    “No, Lord, I guess I ain’t,
    Because those of us who carry badges
    can’t always be a saint.

    I’ve had to work most Sundays,
    and at times my talk was rough,
    and sometimes I’ve been violent,
    Because the streets are awfully tough.

    But I never took a penny,
    That wasn’t mine to keep….
    Though I worked a lot of overtime
    When the bills got just too steep.

    And I never passed a cry for help,
    Though at times I shook with fear.
    And sometimes, God forgive me,
    I’ve wept unmanly tears.

    I know I don’t deserve a place
    Among the people here.
    They never wanted me around
    Except to calm their fear.

    If you’ve a place for me here,
    Lord, It needn’t be so grand.
    I never expected or had too much,
    But if you don’t…..I’ll understand.

    There was silence all around the throne
    Where the saints had often trod.
    As the policeman waited quietly,
    For the judgment of his God.

    “Step forward now, policeman,
    You’ve borne your burdens well.
    Come walk a beat on Heaven’s streets,
    You’ve done your time in hell.”

  • comments March 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    “During that time he served as a narcotics dog while also being involved in suspect apprehensions.”

    All that expensive and lengthy training, why risk using the dog as an attack dog?

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