Newport News police mourn sudden loss of K-9 Hammer

K-9 Hammer (Photo: Newport News police)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own: K-9 Hammer.

Five-year-old Hammer passed away Thursday during a dental procedure.

The department says Hammer was a dual purpose German Shepherd trained in narcotics detection and patrol. He was born in September 2011 and joined the force in June 2012. After completing training in January 2013, Hammer was assigned to Master Police Officer Hatton and has been by his side since.

Recently, MPO Hatton and Hammer received an Award of Merit from the Virginia Police Work Dog Association for their work to catch a hit-and-run suspect in Gloucester in May 2016. The suspect was found and taken into custody thanks to their hard work.

Hammer and MPO Hatton were also part of the  Violent Crimes Reduction Task Force that formed in November 2016. They worked together with officers from other divisions to get violent criminals off the streets. The police department says the team were instrumental in the task force’s success.

Department officials are still working to arrange a memorial service in honor of K-9 Duke, who passed away just last week. They have yet to discuss a memorial for Hammer.