MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A special salute for the fallen Miami-Dade K-9 officers was held Wednesday at the police memorial in Tropical Park.
It was a moving tribute for K-9s that are still on the force and for the handlers who lost their partners over the years.
It was quite sight, as police officers walked their partners from their cars to the memorial. The event honored fallen K-9s from as far back as 1976.
Decades later, each of their stories were told by officers on behalf of the K-9's partner.
They gathered at the police memorial at Tropical Park where since 2009, agencies from across South Florida have gathered to remember police K-9s.
The event was also a reunion of sorts for officers with their K-9 trainer.
The Miami-Dade Police Department has 19 K-9 officers in specialized patrol, four keep Port Miami safe and nine take part in narcotics operations.
"These grounds have the names of 137 officers that have died in the line of duty here in Miami-Dade, so we thought it would be fitting that we put the K-9 memorial, memorializing the fact that they protect us while we're out there doing our jobs," Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said.
"What these K-9s do, the way they sacrifice themselves without thinking twice not just for the police officer, but for all of us -- listening to these stories is really quite moving," Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said.
A part of the ceremony touched on how police K-9 deaths in Florida is significantly less than the rest of the country, where last year 26 K-9s died in the line of duty.