Scottsdale officer shoots, kills K-9 partner

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SCOTTSDALE -- A Scottsdale police officer shot and killed his police dog while conducting a search Friday morning.

Police chief talks about K-9's death
azfamily.com

It happened at about 2:30 a.m. at a home near 104th Way and Dynamite Boulevard.

Sgt. Chris Coffee his K-9 partner, Striker, were called to the home when an alarm went off.

Officers on the scene found an open door, and the caretaker of the home thought there might have been an intruder inside.

While conducting the search, Coffee apparently had his gun in his hand. The gun went off, hitting Striker.

The 6-year-old Czechoslovakian shepherd was rushed to an emergency animal clinic, but the vet was not able to save him.

While the shooting is believed to have been an accident, Chief Alan Rodbell said this incident is being treated like any other officer-involved shooting.

"We have begun a comprehensive investigation, involving both our Office of Internal Affairs, as well as out Investigative Services Bureau personnel," Rodbell said.

Coffee had been teamed with Striker, who had been with the department for four years, the whole time he was supervising the K-9 unit. Rodbell said Coffee's service record has been "exemplary."

"He is devastated," said Rodbell of Coffee. "Anyone who has pets and has lost a pet can imagine how this man is feeling. ... They live together. They play together. They train together. They spend they entire tour of duty together. ... They're best friends."

"These [dogs] are members of our police family, members of our department," Rodbell said. "They go in the door in lieu of us going in the door. They risk their lives on a daily basis ...."

Coffee, a 10-year veteran of the department who has been the K-9 supervisor for the past two-and-a-half years, is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure any time and officer fires his weapon.

Striker was one of five dogs in the unit. It's believed that he's the first Scottsdale police dog killed in the line of duty since the department was formed 45 years ago.

"This is a loss, not just for our police department. ... It's a loss for the community," Rodbell said.

No intruder was found in the home.