The West Deptford Police Department in New Jersey honored Judge, a retired K-9 officer, with a soldier’s salute. Judge had an impressive record of 280 deployments, 152 suspect apprehensions, and assisting in the recovery of stolen vehicles, firearms, and a large sum of money, which made him worthy of this tribute. After seven years of service and a battle with Cushing’s Disease, it was time to say goodbye. Cpl. Michael Franks, Judge’s handler, was faced with mounting veterinary bills and created a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The community rallied together and raised nearly $12,000. Unfortunately, Judge’s health deteriorated rapidly after surgery and he had to be put down.
Saying farewell to a beloved pet is already difficult, but when that pet is also your working partner and someone who has risked their life for you and your community, the pain is both heartbreaking and unbearable. The only solace comes from the incredible support displayed by the massive turnout and moving tribute to the hero. More than 90 representatives from different police departments in New Jersey attended, and it is hoped that the respect shown will provide comfort and a lasting recognition of Judge’s service and sacrifice.
K-9 Officer Judge, a German Shepard who served extensively with the West Deptford Police Department, is pictured below.
Officers salute as Judge approaches the vet where he will eventually be put down due to his long and painful battle with Cushing’s Disease.
Other K-9 officers lined the streets to pay tribute to this hero dog.
Great respect was shown for Judge as officers from other precincts lined up with their K-9 companions as Judge made his final approach.
As you can see, there was a huge out pouring of support for Judge and his handler.
Free services were offered by Saint Francis Veterinary Center, which helped a lot in the end. However Judge’s handler had a lot of upfront costs at first when determining what was ailing Judge.
Sobbing family members illustrate how much Judge will be missed. He was not only a K-9 officer, he was the family pet who provided love and support for his host family.
Judge takes his final bite as he walks toward the door of St. Francis Veterinary Center.
The sleeve is used in training K-9 officers, providing a cushion for other police officers to ensure their safety.
They are often regarded to as toys and the dogs hold onto them tightly. As you can see, this is a heartbreaking moment for everyone, especially Cpl. Franks.
The officers knew that Judge would be strong enough to walk himself into the veterinary clinic. And he was. They allowed him to take his final walk in front of all of his comrades.
With his sleeve in tow, he walked towards the entrance of the veterinary center.
Judge was greatly valued and will be deeply missed.
If you are not even slightly emotional by the end of this story, you must have a heart of steel! It’s incredible to witness the outpouring of support given to K-9 officers during their last moments. I’ve seen videos of police officers falling to the ground when their K-9 partners are injured or lose their lives while on duty. This story exemplifies how much these dogs mean to the officers and that they are more than just tools. They are a part of their family.