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East Haven Police K-9 Bear Laid to Rest

Branford Police Officer Joseph Peterson has to say goodbye to longtime four-legged partner.

This is a press release from Branford Police Department

Bear, the retired K-9 took his last ride in a cruiser yesterday afternoon, surrounded by cruisers from East Haven and Branford as he was transported from his home in East Haven to the Guilford Veterinary Hospital by his handler and partner, now Branford Officer Joseph Peterson and Officer David Atkinson, Branford’s K-9 handler. After arriving at the hospital, Bear was laid to rest surrounded by his handler and Officer Atkinson just after 3 p.m.

Bear, a German Sheppard from the Republic of Czech, was purchased in 2001 by the East Haven Police Department at 14 months old and was assigned to Officer Peterson, who was an East Haven Police Officer at the time.

Officer Peterson and Bear began their training in Bronx, New York at the New York Municipal Police Work Dog Academy in July of 2001, later graduating in December, 2001. While training the team watched as the planes flew overhead and later struck the World Trade Centers on .

Throughout Bear’s career with the East Haven Police Department until 2007, Bear and Peterson assisted not only East Haven residents, but surrounding communities and the Connecticut State Police on countless incidents apprehending criminals, recovering evidence and locating missing persons, during some of the investigations receiving injuries while protecting his handler and other officers.

After assisting his brother officer at the hospital, Officer David Atkinson said, “We receive these animals as puppies, we train and grow together as partners, they become members of our families and they retire in our homes.” Atkinson continued, “The decisions that are made today remain one of the most painful moments in mine and any handler’s career, not only emotionally but physically as well.”

Chief Kevin Halloran expressed sympathy to his officer saying, “When we hire an officer, we accept not only them but families as well. I hope that Officer Peterson and his family find comfort in knowing that Bear was a vital part of policing in our area and served our citizens well.”

Just before 4 p.m. as Officer Atkinson returned Peterson to his residence he announced on East Haven Police frequency, “Branford K-9 officer to East Haven, Bear is signal 13 (code for out of service).” As the East Haven Dispatch officer replied, “Roger, Thank-you Bear for your years of service.”

Paul Carbo January 15, 2012 at 03:54 PM
As it is always difficult to lose a partner and equally difficult to lose a friend, our condolences go out to Officer Peterson and his family. Thank you and Rest in Peace, Bear.
Steve from SAAC January 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
My deepest condolences to Officer Peterson and his family on the loss of their beloved Bear. I have been in similar situations with beloved pets and it is heart-wrenching. I also tip my hat to the wonderful people at Guilford Vet Hospital, who do their best to help us through these situations.
Beth January 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Having had the privilege of knowing Officer Peterson, his entire family and Bear, I can say I feel their loss. Bear was an outstanding Officer , partner and, friend but, he was more, he was a member of their family as well. When I heard the news on Thursday, my heart sank. What a good dog he was!! I know that after all of his faithful service, he will be in a better place. Rest now Bear. You will be missed.
Dona De January 16, 2012 at 06:11 PM
RIP BEAR.. it was nice to have known you. Our hearts go out to the Peterson's.
CitizenVoice January 17, 2012 at 07:55 AM
My sincere sympathy to the Peterson family. I've had Shepherds all my life since I was a little kid and currently share my life with two of these awsome creatures. The loyalty and love they give us is as immeasurable as the heartbreak when they leave us. Good-Boy, Bear. Run with the angels.

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