In heartbreaking news from a local police force today, Ontario's hardest working police dog has died. York Regional Police confirmed this morning that Duke, a former police service dog with their canine unit has passed away. Duke had retired in 2014 but prior to that, he was one of the hardest working police dogs.
Duke, a German shepherd, was trained in handler protection, tracking, area searches, drug detection, and suspect apprehension. In his seven years on the force, he was responsible for 60 different arrests. He also was involved in 13 bites or apprehensions, in which he had to bite a suspect in order to bring them down. In one of those cases he apprehended a suspect approaching police with scissors and in another took down two kidnapping suspects.
He didn't just assist in arrests, he also helped in several missing people and suicidal people searches. He was an expert at crawling through bushes, under decks, and even swimming. He didn't just find people, Duke successfully sniffed out drugs in a number of cases. One of his biggest busts was finding 26 pounds of marijuana.
Outside of his crime-fighting duties, back in 2009, he came in second place in a police dog competition. Duke was also known for doing a number of public appearances in schools and retirement centres.
With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of retired Police Service Dog Duke. As a member of the Canine Unit, Duke served his community with pride during his seven-year career, before enjoying a well-deserved retirement. We thank Duke for his service. #GoodBoy 💔 pic.twitter.com/k7DnBZGRwn— York Regional Police (@YRP) February 14, 2019
Since his retirement from service in 2014, Duke had been living with his handler and his family. Now, however, he has passed away and the community is heartbroken. Many are expressing their condolences on Twitter.
Really sorry to hear about Duke's passing. Please know we are thinking of you all. 🖤 #BestBoy ^jh— Halton Police (@HaltonPolice) February 14, 2019
RIP Duke. Thank you for your service. 🐶 pic.twitter.com/4RuuDfxe9G— Oh, hi Marc. (@ItsMarcAiello) February 14, 2019
Thank you for serving us proudly...RIP Duke— Karen Emmerson (@karen_emmerson) February 14, 2019
Awwww Duke😞.. Rest In Peace with all the other Doggo’s who gave their service. Run freeee! 😇🙏— AnnieBodyCaNaDa (@AnnieBodyCanada) February 14, 2019
RIP Duke The best of all the boys 👮♂️🐕❤️— Jen Suen (@suen_jen) February 14, 2019
York Regional Police's tweet about the sad news has over 700 likes and over 100 retweets so far.
The York Regional Police have had 50 different police service dogs in their canine unit over the past 28 years.