This is a press release from Branford Police Department
Bear, the retired K-9 took his last ride in a cruiser yesterday afternoon, surrounded by cruisers from East Haven and Branford as he was transported from his home in East Haven to the Guilford Veterinary Hospital by his handler and partner, now Branford Officer Joseph Peterson and Officer David Atkinson, Branford’s K-9 handler. After arriving at the hospital, Bear was laid to rest surrounded by his handler and Officer Atkinson just after 3 p.m.
Bear, a German Sheppard from the Republic of Czech, was purchased in 2001 by the East Haven Police Department at 14 months old and was assigned to Officer Peterson, who was an East Haven Police Officer at the time.
Officer Peterson and Bear began their training in Bronx, New York at the New York Municipal Police Work Dog Academy in July of 2001, later graduating in December, 2001. While training the team watched as the planes flew overhead and later struck the World Trade Centers on .
Throughout Bear’s career with the East Haven Police Department until 2007, Bear and Peterson assisted not only East Haven residents, but surrounding communities and the Connecticut State Police on countless incidents apprehending criminals, recovering evidence and locating missing persons, during some of the investigations receiving injuries while protecting his handler and other officers.
After assisting his brother officer at the hospital, Officer David Atkinson said, “We receive these animals as puppies, we train and grow together as partners, they become members of our families and they retire in our homes.” Atkinson continued, “The decisions that are made today remain one of the most painful moments in mine and any handler’s career, not only emotionally but physically as well.”
Chief Kevin Halloran expressed sympathy to his officer saying, “When we hire an officer, we accept not only them but families as well. I hope that Officer Peterson and his family find comfort in knowing that Bear was a vital part of policing in our area and served our citizens well.”
Just before 4 p.m. as Officer Atkinson returned Peterson to his residence he announced on East Haven Police frequency, “Branford K-9 officer to East Haven, Bear is signal 13 (code for out of service).” As the East Haven Dispatch officer replied, “Roger, Thank-you Bear for your years of service.”