What Occurs Throughout a Police Canine Funeral?

To change into a police Okay-9, a canine has to exhibit loyalty and superior intelligence. It’s these qualities, plus specialised coaching and a singular relationship with their handlers, that make police canines so good at their job. And when a Okay-9 dies, particularly within the line of responsibility, it’s heartbreaking for everybody who knew them.

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For a Okay-9 handler, the loss is much more tough. It combines the grief of dropping a finest good friend and accomplice with the lack of a beloved pet. To point out respect and gratitude to a fallen Okay-9 officer, businesses and handlers usually maintain a police funeral for the departed canine.

Simply as police departments honor a human regulation enforcement officer with full funerary honors, a police canine can count on the identical form of memorial for his or her sacrifice.

Okay-9 Police Funeral Traditions

“The Rocky Protocol,” created by the Nationwide Sherriff’s Affiliation, outlines some suggestions for Okay-9 officer funerals. Though not all police canine funerals are the identical, the Affiliation put forth the Protocol in an try to assist businesses honor their fallen Okay-9s.

Whereas some businesses select to not prepare funeral honors for Okay-9 officers, many do. And if an company doesn’t put collectively a funeral on behalf of a Okay-9, it’s widespread for the canine’s handler to rearrange a service, as a substitute.

Digital Okay-9 funeral: If social distancing and journey restrictions stop you from holding an in-person funeral for a treasured companion, a service like GatheringUs may also help you host the funeral nearly.

Order of service

The order of service for a police canine funeral is much like that of a human police funeral. Though the order of occasions is basically as much as the host of the funeral (law enforcement officials and directors or the handler), it usually follows an order like this:

1. Welcome friends and introduction 

Visitors arrive on the venue of the funeral, and the officiant welcomes them to sit or stay standing (if graveside).

2. Invocation

The individual main the funeral reads or offers a gap tackle known as an invocation.

3. Audio system, feedback, and eulogies

Subsequent, the individual main the funeral normally invitations anybody who’d like to offer a studying or eulogy for the Okay-9 to take action.

4. Presentation of the flags

A police funeral normally consists of the presentation of flags, both via decreasing the flags, folding the flags, or putting a flag on the coffin.

5. Burial

Subsequent, the procession might make its strategy to the burial website or, if already there, decrease the coffin into the bottom. If the Okay-9 officer was cremated, the attendees might watch because the stays are inurned, scattered, or buried.

6. Gun salute

A police canine funeral might embody a 21-gun salute, simply as you would possibly observe at a navy or human police funeral.

7. Faucets

Moreover, or in lieu of the gun salute, the funeral would possibly embody the taking part in of “Faucets.”

8. Closing

Lastly, the individual chosen to steer the funeral will say closing remarks and let friends find out about any reception that is perhaps held afterward.

Honor Guard

If doable, the division or handler usually makes use of Honor Guard members on the funeral service and burial. The Honor Guard serves to guard an officer’s physique from disturbance, in addition to current extra honor ceremonies equivalent to flags.

The Honor Guard’s position at a police canine funeral might embody any or the entire following, in addition to extra duties:

  • Guarding the police canine’s physique or ashes till the burial or ash-scattering.
  • Guarding the gravesite till the ceremony concludes.
  • All duties associated to flag motion, presentation, and management.
  • Performing the Gun Salute.
  • Enjoying Faucets (whether or not this accountability belongs to the Honor Guard will depend on the company).
  • Escorting the handler or different survivors if mandatory.


Flags additionally play an essential position at a police canine’s funeral, simply as they do at every other service member’s memorial. Flag honors are available in a number of completely different types, described under.


Flags on flagpoles on the funeral or burial website are lowered to half-mast throughout a police canine funeral. The company and the proprietor of the property might select to go away the flags lowered for an extended time frame.

Flag guards

Flags that aren’t affixed to flag poles could also be guarded by members of the Honor Guard, if in attendance.

Flag protecting or show

A flag usually covers the casket of the departed or stands on show close to the stays in the course of the ceremony. When that is the case, the flag could be of the state (if the Okay-9 served a state or native division) or of the nation (if the Okay-9 served any federal company).

Moreover, the flag needs to be folded by an Honor Guard member in the course of the ceremony. The Honor Guard usually presents the folded flag to the canine’s handler or survivors following the service.

The recipient of the folded flag usually shows it in an honorary shadow field offered by the company.

Gun salute

The 21-gun salute is reserved for officers, together with Okay-9 officers, who died within the line of responsibility. Police canines who die after their watch has ended can nonetheless have police honors at their funeral, however gained’t have a 21-gun salute.

For the 21-gun salute, seven members of the Honor Guard stand a brief distance away from the congregation holding rifles. Every rifle accommodates three clean cartridges. Upon orders from the commanding officer, the Honor Guard members fireplace their rifles (on the similar time) thrice.


One other honor a police canine will get at their funeral is using pallbearers. They might be used on the discretion of the police company or the Okay-9’s handler, in keeping with the Nationwide Sherriff’s Affiliation. A person pallbearer might transport the coffin on a carriage, or a number of pallbearers might carry the casket.

Often, members of the Honor Guard, if current, carry out the pallbearer duties. The canine’s handler usually doesn’t act as pallbearer until they particularly request the accountability.

» MORE: Honor a liked one with a web based memorial. Create one totally free with Cake.

How Are Police Canines Buried and Remembered?

A burial for a police canine seems similar to a human burial with police or navy honors. Nonetheless, the folks arranging the burial should discover a appropriate burial location for the Okay-9 officer. Some police departments have particular grounds put aside only for this objective.


The Nationwide Sherriff’s Affiliation recommends burial for all police canines, even when they’re cremated. This helps stop the unintentional or intentional desecration of the stays.

If the division and the handler select an intact burial (with out cremation beforehand), they attempt to bury the stays as rapidly as doable.


If the police canine can’t have a burial rapidly, the Nationwide Sherriff’s Affiliation recommends cremation.

Caskets and coffins

Whether or not the canine is buried straight away or cremated first, a casket or coffin is usually used. Burial with a coffin additional helps disruption to the police canine’s stays.

Ash scattering

An alternative choice accessible to the canine’s handler is scattering the ashes. The handler and the using company, in the event that they’re concerned in planning the funeral, should comply with an acceptable ash-scattering location.


A police canine usually has a gravestone or headstone displaying the canine’s start date and date of dying. The gravestone may additionally embody the date the canine’s watch started, in addition to the date the Okay-9 officer’s watch ended. It usually lists the Okay-9’s accomplice’s identify and the identify of their precinct, too.


After the preliminary funeral, or in lieu of an instantaneous funeral, the police division or handler might maintain a memorial afterward. In the event that they selected cremation or an instantaneous burial and couldn’t prepare a funeral straight away, a memorial is a useful strategy to pay respects.

A memorial is perhaps formal and embody a few of the honors listed above, nevertheless it may be extra private and informal.

If the handler or division wished to create an enduring memorial to their fallen accomplice, they might additionally create an on-line memorial utilizing a service like GatheringUs or Keeper.

Remembering Okay-9 Heroes

The inspiration for the Nationwide Sherriff Affiliation’s “Rocky Protocol” was a beloved Okay-9 officer named Rocky. Rocky was a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois who died from a medical situation he’d battled for over two years.

He was Corporal Craig Kirkpatrick’s accomplice within the Victoria County Sheriff’s Division, and he served to detect narcotics, apprehend suspects, and defend his fellow officers. From 2008 when his watch started till his dying in 2013, Rocky helped seize a complete of $7,364,399 value of unlawful substances and forex.

Kirkpatrick acknowledged that “Rocky was not solely a loyal accomplice and officer, he was additionally capable of deter many forms of criminals whereas remaining a trusted and liked member of my household. He will likely be sorely missed and by no means forgotten.”

His funeral and police honors struck the proper tone for saying goodbye to a member of the group. Along with his heartfelt memorial, together with the kinds of honors listed above, Rocky’s framed image hangs within the Victoria County Sherriff’s Workplace.

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