On January 6, a four-year-old German shepherd, who worked with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, died after choking to death during a training exercise. On January 15, details of the tragedy were released on the department’s Facebook page.
The department expressed its sorrow and posted a letter that was written by the dog’s handler, Detective Brad Phillips – the department stated, “It is with deep sorrow that we share with you all the death of Bomb K9 Jojo. We wanted to give his handler, Detective Brad Phillips, time to grieve and share his own personal words with you in the below heart-felt letter.”
Detective Phillips began, “It is with a heavy heart that I write this email about my partner, Jojo. Jojo was a 4-year old sable German Shepherd who was trained in explosive detection and tracking. Jojo and I were a team on the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBSD) in California.”
Jojo and Detective Phillips worked as a team for the past three years – he described their bond as “unbreakable.” Phillips stated, “Although we were both very green, we were able to predict each other’s thinking. Over the 3 years that we were partners, we were together for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At times we traveled 500 miles to conduct searches but neither Jojo nor I minded because we had each other. We depended on each other for safety, comfort, and companionship.”
The explosive dog, who was the only dog of his kind in San Bernardino County, accomplished a great deal during his time with the department, including finding hidden guns, tracking and locating wanted felons and identifying explosive devices.
Tragically, his run came to an untimely end on January 6 in a freak accident. Detective Phillips explained, “Unfortunately, on January 6, 2016 at 11:05 am, my best friend and partner died in the line of duty while searching a warehouse. During the search, Jojo got an object lodged in his throat and choked. I did everything in my power to save him and in the process had my right pinky finger amputated. We are unsure if the doctor will be able to save my finger but it is a small price to pay in an attempt to save my friend’s life. I am devastated that I failed.”
JoJo – End of Watch, January 6, 2016
Find the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department on Facebook here.
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