Posted: Apr 10, 2012 6:24 PM by Rob Krieger
Updated: Apr 10, 2012 6:49 PM
BATON ROUGE - Police officers and their K9 counterparts are going through a week long certification process at LSU.
The certification tests the dogs and their handlers on agility, obedience and real-life searching situations.
For the men and women who raise and train the dogs, their K9 partner is more than just some extra help in the field.
"They're classified as a tool, but they mean so much more to us than a tool and they do what they're supposed to do and work just as hard as most officers work and sometimes even harder," said Cpl. Kenneth Clark, who's dog Xander was formerly trained by Officer Mark Beck before he was killed in a car crash in 2008.
Beck's mother, Mary Hidalgo, now watches Xander from the sidelines and is trying to raise money to create a K9 memorial alongside the memorials for fallen officers.
"They're officers too, they give their lives for us and it's a real bad tragedy when we lose one of them and the partner has to go through losing him because they're so close together," said Hidalgo.
Hidalgo hopes to place the wall and a bronzed statue of a dog near the police memorial in New Orleans. So far she's raised about $7,000 of the $25,000 she needs to create the memorial. If you'd like to help you can contact Hidalgo at: firstname.lastname@example.org.