Family of Maritza Medina donates dog to Miami-Dade Police Department

Bear donated by husband of Pembroke Pines woman killed in US 27 crash


DORAL, Fla. – It's been nearly six months since a police pursuit that ended in a deadly crash on U.S. 27, killing Pembroke Pines mother Maritza Medina.

The family made a special donation Tuesday in her honor to the Miami-Dade Police Department. One of their officers was honored for rushing to Medina's car to try to save her life.

Bear is like any rambunctious youngster excited to excel in school, but in K-9 class he will be doing much more than playing with toys. He will also learn to attack, as well as search for and find bad guys.

Unlike most police dogs, Bear was not designed to be a K-9 officer at birth. He was donated by Diego Medina, Maritza's husband.

"She was killed by a murderer, and now he will be out on the streets looking for criminals," said Lt. Jeff Schmidinger.

It's extremely rare to have a dog donated to the K-9 unit. In fact, this is the first time it's happened in eight years, but Bear passed all of his tests with flying colors.

"He had the traits that we use in a police dog, as far as, he already was trained in some protection work, some bite work and had the obedience," said Schmidinger.

Three-year-old Bear has passed his Florida Department of Law Enforcement certification and is now in patrol school with Schmidinger, his partner. They've only been together a few months but the bond is building.

"If anything good can come out of it, it's Bear, which I have kept his original name that Maritza named him. This was her dog, and like I told Diego, it's like having a guardian angel with me," said Schmidinger.

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