The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office lost a canine investigator Thursday.
Keelo, a four-legged officer, died in his sleep while at the residence of his handler, investigator Anthony Freeman.
Keelo, formerly named Jimmy, was a Belgian Malinois. He was 9 years old.
He joined the Macon Police Department in 2008 after being trained to detect narcotics at South Georgia K-9, a training and certification center.
In November 2009 while he was off duty, Keelo followed the trail of a scent and left the backyard of his previous handler, Officer Ryan Willis. The dog was struck by an SUV, but after surgery he made a full recovery.
After the police department and sheriff’s office merged in 2014, Keelo was assigned to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and was responsible for numerous significant narcotics seizures, according to a news release.
“He helped put some bad people away,” Sheriff David Davis said.
“A K-9 and animals in service of law enforcement really exemplify true commitment,” Davis said. “Certainly we have heavy hearts, but when we look back at the service (Keelo) had, we are grateful about that.”
Keelo’s final arrangements are being handled by Hart’s Petuary in Macon.
To contact writer Conner Wood, call 744-4489.