Friday, May 25, 2018
Public safety

Pinellas police dogs honored in annual memorial service

PALM HARBOR — The Clearwater Police Department and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office canine units held their eighth annual K-9 Memorial Service at Curlew Hills Memorial Gardens Pet Cemetery Tuesday.

The service honored five German shepherds that formerly worked for the Sheriff's Office or Clearwater police, as well as Sirius, a yellow Labrador that isn't buried there but was honored because he was the only dog to die on duty at ground zero in New York City on Sept. 11.

The five German shepherds are buried next to dozens of other law enforcement dogs from the area that have been honored at past memorial services. Curlew Hills Memorial Gardens provided the headstones and plots for the dogs for free to honor their service.

"These are officers, really, that serve the public well," said Keenan Knopke, the cemetery's president. "They need to be remembered in the correct fashion."

The honored dogs were Vader, who served in the Sheriff's Office from 2002-2009; Jester, who served from 2004-2011 in the Sheriff's Office; Deuce, a Pinellas canine unit member from 2004-2010; Dodge, a Clearwater police dog from 2003-2007; and Thor, who served as a Pinellas County unit member from 1974-1977 and 1981-1983.

Dozens of current and former handlers, some of them with their dogs, attended the service, which included a sermon by the Rev. Danny McDonald of the North Bay Community Church and a performance of Amazing Grace on bagpipes. The former handlers of all five German shepherds gave speeches recounting the deeds and personalities of their deceased partners.

"I'm sure at some point in my career that dog saved my life," said Pinellas Deputy Rick Tapia about his bomb-sniffing dog, Vader.

The dogs honored had helped locate explosives, narcotics and missing children.

Will Hicks can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4155.

Comments
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Raccoon bites bicyclist, now the Health Department is looking for the victim

TAMPA — A bicyclist in the Palm River area was bitten by a raccoon Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County said.Now the department is concerned the animal had rabies and is searching for the bicyclist."While it is impo...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Police: Baby not abandoned; mother surrendered infant

TAMPA — A newborn baby initially thought to be found on the ground near a trash can in north Tampa was not abandoned, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.The child’s mother gave birth to the boy Thursday, and she and someone else too...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A male student opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school Friday morning, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said. Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said the science teache...
Published: 05/25/18

Woman, dog die trying to cross U.S. 19 in Hudson

PORT RICHEY— An unidentified 45-year-old Colorado woman and her dog died early Friday morning when they walked into the path of two vehicles on U.S. 19, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The woman was walking her dog around 5:40 a.m. across U.S...
Published: 05/25/18
A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

LARGO— A flap over coupons led a Clearwater man to grab a Burger King employee and yank her over the counter, leading to his arrest, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Miguel Latorre, 23, was trying to use several coupons to buy a Whop...
Published: 05/25/18
New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

TAMPA — Two days after a mother and daughter were struck by a speeding car Bayshore Boulevard, killing both, city officials on Friday began implementing changes aimed at ensuring safety along the busy roadway.On Friday morning, workers began installi...
Published: 05/25/18
He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

GULFPORT — An 18-year-old man, wearing an ankle bracelet, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of breaking into 13 cars in a one-block radius over the last week.Benjamin Langkamp Jr. faces 13 charges of vehicle burglary — each of which occurred...
Published: 05/25/18
Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man in January.Deputies are searching for 23-year-old Javon Rakeem Turner, who is wanted in the death of 22-year-old Elijah Moore on Jan. 17.According to depu...
Published: 05/25/18