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A police dog was killed today in a SWAT stand-off in Milcreek, the 12th police dog killed in the line of duty this year.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police K9, Nicky, was shot and killed March 31 while chasing a murder suspect.
If the pace continues, 2016 will be the deadliest year for police K9s.
Last year, 27 K9s were killed in action in the United States; the numbers in prior years: 20, 18, 14, five, 11, 10, eight and two, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Nicky, a Belgian Malinois that had just returned to duty after being stabbed by a machete in a separate incident, was the fifth K9 killed by gunfire this year; only 2012 saw more K9s (six) shot to death.
The other causes of this year’s K9 killings: three struck by vehicles, one stabbed, one drowned and one asphyxiated.
It’s hard to explain the uptick. Are suspects more violent, or are more police agencies using four-legged officers?
Last August, stiffer federal laws enhanced the penalties for those who hurt or kill police K9s, as well as police horses and other four-legged officers.
The ODMP page doesn’t track how many K9s are injured on the job, but a scan of headlines suggests big numbers.
On Monday, April 4, a suspect in Connecticut choked Branford PD’s K9, Joker, and injured two officers during a scuffle at a motel.
In Miami, K9 Buddy suffered minor injuries while subduing a suspect following a high-speed pursuit.
Two days earlier, in Dunwoody, Ga., a suspect stabbed K9 Tryko in the face.
Closer to home, Anaheim city officials in April honored the service of its 21 K9s at La Palma Park, unveiling a bronze statue.
None of APD’s K9 officers have been killed in action. But in March 2014, a parolee shot APD K9 Bruno in the jaw.
Bruno’s remarkable recovery generated national headlines.
He’s retired now – and was on hand at the tribute.
Check out this BTB VIDEO that illustrates what an asset K9s are to law enforcement.