San Diego Police K9's and handlers honored at new memorial statue

Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 03:01:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The San Diego Police Departments K9 officers and their handlers were honored at the unveiling of the new K9 Memorial Dedication Ceremony Wednesday afternoon. 

They don’t carry weapons. Often times, they are the weapon.

“We’ve had several dogs injured, stabbed, and shot,” Lt. Tony Lessa of the San Diego Police K9 Unit said. “Fortunately, only one was killed in the line of duty.”

Since 1984, ninety-two San Diego Police K9’s have served alongside their handlers. They enter themselves into dangerous situations for the good of the community. Many said their value is immeasurable. 

“They improve officer safety for out officers in a way that they reduce the use of force we have to use,” Lt. Lessa said. “You can’t put a number on that.”

That is why a new Memorial wall was built for the specialized unit. Sitting at the helm is a bronze statue of German Shepard Bando, who was struck by a car and killed in the line of duty in 1994. Underneath his statue are the names of several K9’s and their handlers.

Patsy Samson was the main donor for the San Diego Police Foundation. She worked with the organization for eight months until finally unveiling the memorial today.

“They love their K9’s,” Samson said. “They take care of their K9’s. They just want to do the best you can do for the community that they protect and serve, every single day.”

Whether it’s their cuteness on their time off, or their fierce abilities to bring down criminals, the K9’s officers have a special place in hearts. For that, like their human counterparts, their work will never be forgotten. 

“Their name is going to live on here for eternity,” Lt. Lessa said.