Local News

K-9 Officer's Death Leads to New Law

Posted July 2, 2007 5:52 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2007 8:26 a.m. EDT

— Danny sacrificed his life for a fellow police officer last year, and his death has led to tougher penalties for people who kill K-9 officers.

Cpl. Chris Hicks of the Rocky Mount Police Department and Danny were chasing a suspect last July 21 when the man turned and fired at Hicks. Danny jumped in front of the bullet and died saving Hicks.

After hearing Danny's story, Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, introduced a bill to make killing a police dog a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Previously, shooting a K-9 officer was equated to damaging police property since departments spend thousands of dollars and months of training on each dog.

"We're sending a clear message that, if you do this, you are going to do time when you do it," Swindell said.

The proposal was signed into law last month and takes effect in December.

Senior Officer Tim Braddy, the K-9 trainer for the Rocky Mount Police Department, said the new law is encouraging.

"Day in and day out, (police dogs) get in and out of these patrol cars. They put their lives on the line just like the police officers do to protect the citizens," Braddy said. "There is no other bond like it. That dog is there to protect you, help you and help the citizens."

Rocky Mount started its K-9 patrol unit in 1992. Danny was the first their first dog killed -- or even seriously injured -- in the line of duty, he said.

Hicks now has a new K-9 officer, named Chance, by his side. Community donations helped pay for the dog's training.