NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Two K-9 officers, who served with the Newport News Police Department for a combined eight years, were honored Monday night after their recent deaths.
Officers from across Hampton Roads attended the memorial service for K-9 Duke and K-9 Hammer at the First Baptist Church on Warwick Boulevard.
“The K-9 is their partner and loyal companion,” said Chief Richard Myers. “On the darkest nights, in the most remote location, when an officer is all alone they can always count on their K-9 partner to have their back.”
The service will included a Rendering of Honors from the police department and K-9 unit, Newport News Sheriff’s Office and Newport New Fire Department Honor Guards and the Newport News Police Pipe and Drum Band.
“They are so driven in their job,” said Assistant Chief Stacy Kelly. “…They just want to go to work. They are working to please the handlers.”
K-9 Duke passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 25 after more than three years on the force, according to the department. The bloodhound worked with MPO N. Stewart on tasks like tracking missing people.
K-9 Hammer, a German Shepherd, died Feb. 2 during a medical procedure. The K-9 was dual trained in narcotics detection and patrol, according to spokeswoman Jamie Bastas.
K-9 Hammer was part of the Newport News K-9 Unit for nearly five years. The K-9 and his partner, MPO J. Hatton, recently won an Award of Merit from the Virginia Police Work Dog Association for their work apprehending a hit-and-run suspect.
Salenda King, a breeder from Pennsylvania, learned of K-9 Duke’s passing on Facebook and donated a young Bloodhound to the department Monday night. PJ will be Officer Stuart’s new partner after completing K-9 training.
“There’s nothing greater for being a breeder than if we can donate back to the community,” said King.
Hatton received his new partner last week.