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Honoring fallen K-9 officers: Beloved dogs carry on lasting memory for local police departments

Sunday was the three-year anniversary of Blue's sacrifice.

NORCROSS, Ga. — It's been three years since K-9 Officer Blue was shot and killed in the line of duty.

In his honor, Gwinnett County leaders, police, other first responders, and their loved ones dedicated a dog park, just for him.

This comes just days after Clayton County Police lost a K-9 officer.

Copl. William Webb was Blue's handler.

"These dogs are our family," Webb said. "They go home with us every day. They ride in the truck. We're with them, pretty much, 24/7."

Gwinnett County Police Chief James McClure calls Blue a hero.

"His actions on that day likely saved the lives of several of our SWAT Team officers," McClure said.

Blue was killed during a shootout while Gwinnett County Police were tracking a suspect, in Norcross. Clayton County Police's story is eerily similar. K-9 officer Waro died after being shot while tracking a suspect just a week ago.

"Our K-9 is a part of our family—it's our police department family," Parks said, "We don't separate on what we do, but we're still dealing with that tragic loss."

Webb understands that loss all, too well, but at the ceremony, he was overwhelmed by the support.

"It's important to have a legacy left," Webb said. "And I think this honors Blue and the sacrifice." 

A sign with Blue's face was revealed at the dog park.

"What better way to say, 'Hey, we're going to remember you by putting up your sign in a dog park, a place where you love to play,'" Webb said.

And now, when other dogs come to play at the park, their owners can remember Blue too.

"He did what he was supposed to," Webb said. "And I couldn't be prouder. Hence why when we come to this park and every time I see that sign I'll be nothing but proud for that dog."

Webb says although his pride is mixed with sadness, he still loves his job. And the legacy lives on, as his second best friend is getting all trained up.

"Knowing that, it just makes the stakes higher," Webb said. "It makes me want to train harder and harder to make sure that this dog's ready. So, when that day comes that none of my friends get hurt." 

Blue had served for just over a year with the Gwinnett County Police Department as the agency's first, dedicated SWAT K-9. 

We're still waiting to hear back on the funeral plans for Waro.


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