Jasper deputies mourn death of K-9 officer

The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office paused Thursday morning to honor the department’s first K-9 officer, King, who had to be euthanized last week after his vital organs started failing.

“We’re real proud of him,” Sheriff Charles Roper said. “ We’re going to miss him.”

During the memorial service, officers shared stories about the 9-year-old black German shepherd who had been on the force for eight years.

“His first night on the job he found eight pounds of marijuana,” Roper said.

King was trained to detect narcotics, track suspects and protect his human partner, Kelly Montgomery.

“He was very faithful to his handler,” Roper said.

The dog also led investigators to recover items dumped in the woods from a burglary in Jasper County.

Over the years, the dog touched the lives of numerous schoolchildren and young people, Roper said.

The sheriff is currently exploring funding options to buy a new K-9 officer for the department.

King cost $8,500, which covered his training and veterinary bills when he was first purchased.

“He well paid for himself,” Roper said.

In July 2008, King placed first in a training school competition in Vidalia.

A memorial garden is being built at his burial site in front of the sheriff’s office building, where he was laid to rest. His memorial service concluded with the playing of taps and a final radio call announcing he was out of service.

“We really considered him one of us,” Roper said.

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.