Police K-9 teams from around the state gathered Wednesday to honor California police dogs who have died in the line of duty. The names of two dogs — Max, who worked narcotics with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and Urko, a K-9 for the Hawthorne Police Department — were added to the “Faithful Partner” monument at UC Davis.
The monument is in the courtyard north of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital.
Max, whose handler was Deputy Brian McBride, died on Aug. 25, 2011, after putting in less than a year on the job. During that time, however, Max found an impressive amount of illegal drugs, including a kilo of heroin, more than 16 kilos of cocaine, 16.5 kilos of methamphetamine and 495 kilos of marijuana.
He died after accidentally ingesting liquid methamphetamine at the scene of a vehicle search.
Urko was the faithful partner of Hawthorne police Officer Dave Harris for nearly three years. He died Nov. 29, 1989, while in pursuit of a suspect fleeing a robbery scene. The suspect, driving his car at about 60 mph, struck the dog at an intersection, then went out of control and crashed.
“The work that officers and their K-9 partners perform to protect our communities is often dangerous and unpredictable,” said Louise V. Tully, vice president of the Police & Working K-9 Foundation. “Many times our loyal police dogs have been on the front lines — protecting both their fellow officers as well as members of their communities.”
Last Friday, K-9 Drago of the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department was shot in the chest by a suspect firing at police after a high-speed chase, Tully said. Drago survived.
A year and a half ago, Bodie, a K-9 officer with the Sacramento Police Department, was forced to retire after being shot by a felon in a similar pursuit.