|Email Print Comment RSS||
BY PAUL GARBER; Staff Writer
(HIGH POINT, N.C.) -- Police officer Daryl Delagrange admits his former partner wasn't the perfect police officer. He once stole food from a plate at a community outreach function, chewed through four sets of seatbelts and once urinated in a van being searched for drugs.
But when it came time to say goodbye to his former partner Sam - a dog in the department's K-9 unit - Delagrange had to choke back tears.
"He was the best protection I ever had," Delagrange said. "He was the best partner I ever had."
A group of about 50 police officers and animal care workers gathered at the police station Friday to pay tribute to Sam's life and service to the department.
Sam, a Belgian Malinois, died Jan. 5 at age 14. He had served in the police department for 7 years before retiring a little more than two years ago.
During his service, Sam helped officers find more than half a million dollars worth of drugs, recover $10,000 worth of stolen property and apprehend 67 suspects.
Harvey Goho, Sam's veterinarian, said the relationship between Sam and his police trainers represented the quintessential human-animal bond.
"As a citizen of High Point, I feel very blessed to have these dogs and their handlers looking after us," Goho said.
High Point Police Chief Louis Quijas said it's important to remember the contributions from everyone who helps law enforcement, even if it is "somebody who slobbers a lot and scoots his butt on the carpet."