How Are Fallen K9s Honored? Salute To Genesee County K9 Bullet
Dogs are such special parts of our lives. In law enforcement, they "work," but the love and care they receive from their human handlers is no different. Our hearts go out to the Genesee County Sherriff's Department as they lose K9 Officer Bullet.
Who was Genesee County Sherriff's Department K9 Officer Bullet?
German Shepherd, K9 Bullet started with the Genesee County Sherriff's Department in 2010 on the bomb squad. He served about eight years, according to the department. Bullet semi-retired in 2018/2019. The Sherriff's Department said he would occasionally come out of retirement to assist, according to WNEM. His cause of death was old age. (Approximate age wasn't specified -- educated guess is approximately 13 years of age.)
Is there a protocol to honor K9 Officers at the End of Watch?
Burial types are similar to that of humans. Cremation or casket are options. Sherriffs.org notes there isn't strict protocol every department or handler follows, but they offer guidelines on how to best honor the selfless animals. These honors may include:
- Honor Guards:
- guard body/ashes until burial/scattering or gravesite ceremony conclusion (if applicable), flag presentation, Gun Salute duties, Taps or other music, Escort duties
- Pall Bearer(s):
- used at discretion of K9 handler or the handler's survivors -- if no designation is made, Honor Guards would handle this duty.
- Flags at main office or burial site:
- lowered to half-mast during ceremony, beyond that at the discretion of the office/controlling party.
- Honor Guard members may attend flags if not on a permanent flagpole
- Remains may even be draped in a flag. (There is significant flag guidance here.)
- 21-Gun Salute:
- Reserved only for K9s who died "Line-of-Duty" which is performed in normal military fashion.
- Sherriffs.org states it is both permissible and appropriate at all ceremonies for a fallen K9 to have "taps" played live on a bugle or from recording.
Ceremony guidelines are also offered, with great detail, to assist in planning for fallen K9s.
What is the "K9 Promise?"
My eyes are your eyes, To watch and protect you and yours. My ears are your ears, To hear and detect evil minds in the dark. My nose is your nose, To scent the invader of your domain. And so you may live, My life is also yours
Our hearts go out to his handler and the department -- they're human and get just as attached as the rest of us, too. Thank you for your service and peace on your journey over the Rainbow Bridge, Bullet.