This month MidPointe Library salutes the “Hometown Heroes” who have made our local communities even better places in which to live, work and play. Today’s first segment demonstrates that not all heroes are of the two-legged variety.
Not all “hometown heroes” have two legs.
In fact, some of those who are most deserving of the title have four.
Such was the case with the late Middletown, Ohio, canine police officer, Gunner the German Shepherd, whose memory is still cherished by the Middletown Police Department and the community he protected.
In February 2015 Gunner died in a barn fire in Madison Township on property belonging to his handler, Officer Dennis Jordan. Authorities said they believed the source of the fire was a heater used to keep the dog warm. He was 7-and-a-half years old. (1)
Gunner was memorialized in a service at Middletown’s canine training facility attended by over 20 police canine officers from surrounding cities and counties. (1)
The community had lost a hero. But memories of his remarkable tenure would remain.
Gunner’s public service began when he was purchased for the Middletown police department in 2009. The cost was $6,500, money that would be well spent. (1)
After 12 weeks of training Gunner was ready for duty. He was credited for “making several felony arrests throughout his six-year career, including tracking down two armed suspects who carjacked a vehicle in Montgomery County, then fled into Middletown. Gunner uncovered narcotics in the stolen car, then tracked down a second suspect…” (1)
The department’s canine supervisor praised Gunner’s effort as “outstanding police work.” (1)
Gunner’s prowess grew. In the summer before his death, he “was named the top detector in the narcotics division at the U.S. Police Canine Association Regional competition in Kentucky...He was set to compete in the nationals” the year he died. (1)
When he wasn’t fighting crime, Gunner no doubt became the most popular guy in the room when making his rounds or during community visits with his human partner.
Rest in peace, Officer Gunner.
You were, and always will be, a hometown hero.
(1)“Memorial held for ‘one of a kind’ police dog” by Rick McCrabb, Dayton Daily News, February 4, 2015.
Photo from “Middletown K9 : A life well lived” by Jill Drury, “2 News wdtn.com”