The highest level of respect for an officer who gave up his or her life in the line of duty will be paid to Passaic County Sheriff's K-9 Leo at Garrett Mountain this Wednesday, a week after he died.
Shoes will be shined and hair tucked beneath hats as officers in Class A uniforms assemble for what's known as muster on April 3 on the Big Meadow off Mountain Avenue in Woodland Park.
A color guard will be part of a large law enforcement turnout for the 1 p.m. service. "Taps" will be played.
Leo became ill while conducting a search last and was rushed to an animal hospital, where he passed, Passaic County Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.
The 8-year-old German Shepherd "was one of our veteran canines," the sheriff said. "He served our department proudly from 2013 until 2019, specializing in patrol and narcotics.
"During his long career with the sheriff’s department, K9 Leo had numerous apprehensions and large drug seizures protecting the residents of Passaic County," Berdnik said.
Leo graduated a second K-9 academy last July and teamed up with a new partner, Detective Sebastian Biondo.
The duo became the 2018 United States Police Canine Association National Detector Dog Trial Team Champions, the sheriff proudly noted.
Leo's original partner, Officer Fiore Follano, retired due to injury in 2017.
Leo's death is "a huge loss not only the Passaic County Sherriff's Office but to all the residents of Passaic County," Berdnik said. "K-9 Leo will truly be missed."
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