K9 officers part of special brotherhood within brotherhood
It has been an emotional week for police departments across the region with the loss of one police canine officer and a tribute to another.
Canine officers said the partnership with their dogs doesn't stop when the shift is over, and when a fellow handler is killed, the entire brotherhood feels the pain.
Matt Geake, a canine officer in Allentown, and his partner Benny, have been together since 2007.
The 6-year-old dog is a bomb-sniffing and patrol officer who Geake said has always had his back.
"Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, he is always there for you and at any given point, he would basically give his life to protect you," said Geake.
Geake and Benny started their special bond at canine training in Ohio, and when the shift is over, Geake and Benny go home.
Geake said the death of Plymouth Twp., Montgomery Co., canine Ofc. Brad Fox and the wounding of his partner, Nick, by a gunman Thursday were a real blow for him.
"There is a handler, like yourself, that was doing what he loved to do and unfortunately bad things happen, and we all know that is a possibility no matter what we do," said Geake.
Being a canine officer, Geake said, is like being in a brotherhood inside the police brotherhood, something that was illustrated last July during the funeral for Berks County Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly, also a canine officer.
"There was probably 100 dogs outside of that viewing and to have him pass by all their brothers with their dogs was a really nice memorial for him," said Geake.
A stretch of Route 422 in Berks County was dedicated in Pagerly's honor Monday night.
Fox's dog, Nick, was injured, but is said to be recovering. It's customary that the canine partner of a fallen officer is retired.
Meantime, Geake said there is no doubt there will be a large number of canine officers at Fox's funeral Wednesday.
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