Updated: 02/14/2013 7:42 AM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz
The St. Paul Police Department is missing one of its own. A K-9 named Kody was killed Tuesday in pursuit of a fugitive.
Police say the man stabbed Kody several times, officers then shot and killed the suspect.
In St. Paul, work as a K-9 begins with 12 weeks of intense training.
"The important part is that the dog really bonds with the handler, and that the handler learns the dog, sort of like a marriage," said St. Paul Police Sgt. Paulos.
When their lives end, the St. Paul Police Canine Cemetery calls them home.
"That's a place where they go, where they started and where they end," Paulos said.
As a former K-9 handler, Paulos knows the joy of having a police dog, and the pain of losing him.
"You remember the good times," Paulos said.
Often first on the scene and the last to leave, K-9s put their own lives at risk.
"Every day, and sometimes before us, which is sort of neat," Paulos said.
Officer David Longbehn's dog Kody died Tuesday doing just that. At 9 years old, Kody was set to retire in April.
"It's tragic that Officer Longbehn's dog did pass in the way he did, he was probably going to have a great retirement," Paulos said.
Kody will be cremated and buried at the Canine Cemetery in a private ceremony.
"When a K-9 does pass, it's more of a family issue, a private issue, and a personal one," Paulos said.
All St. Paul Police K-9s are male German Shepherds. Tomorrow, St. Paul Police are expected to release more information about how the community can help honor Kody's memory.