In a heartbreaking announcement on February 14th, York Regional Police took to twitter to share that one of their most beloved and accomplished members of their Canine Unit, Duke, had passed.
Duke had contributed 7 years of service to the police service before getting adopted by his long time patrol partner, Sgt.Blair Steer, in his retirement. During his distinguished career, Duke was responsible for 60 arrests and 13 bites or apprehensions. In one extreme case he took down a suspect approaching police with scissors.
With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of retired Police Service Dog Duke. As a member of the Canine Unit, Duke served his community with pride during his seven-year career, before enjoying a well-deserved retirement. We thank Duke for his service. #GoodBoy 💔 pic.twitter.com/k7DnBZGRwn
— York Regional Police (@YRP) February 14, 2019
The 4-legged officer had an ability to thrive in any circumstance, including in the water and confined spaces (i.e under decks or in bushes), which made him quite the versatile sidekick.
Duke was well-versed in all aspects of fighting crime. In addition to suspect apprehension, Duke was trained in handler protection, tracking, area searches and drug detection. He also assisted in several missing people and suicidal people searches.
Duke and his partner Sgt.Blair Steer became well-known in their community as a result of hundreds of presentations at schools and senior homes. The pup even had his very own baseball-style card to hand-out during public visits.
During his time on the Canine Unit, and the years that followed, it’s clear that Duke impacted the lives of many. The community has responded to the news with condolences and heartbreak.