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State Police Unveil Memorial to Honor State Police Canines Killed in the Line of Duty

Six Michigan State Police (MSP) canines have died in the line of duty and today, Thursday, Aug. 3, the department unveiled and dedicated a permanent memorial to honor their service and sacrifice.

Photo of Canine Memorial featuring a bronze statue of German Shepherd

“Our canines, and the work they perform, are critical to creating a Michigan where everyone feels safe and secure,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the MSP. “These six canines were true partners to their handlers and beloved members of the MSP. With the unveiling of this memorial, we finally have a fitting and permanent location to remember their contributions to policing and the communities we call home.”

The memorial, which was fully funded with donations, is co-located alongside the Fallen Trooper Memorial on the lawn of the MSP Training Academy in Dimondale. Six canines have died in the line of duty since 1998.

Photo of canine memorial from the side featuring bronze statue of German Shepherd

We felt very strongly that our fallen canines deserved this recognition,” said Sgt. Dave Cardenas, MSP Canine Unit Trainer and handler. “Today is a special day and we are extremely grateful to those who contributed to make it possible.”

The Canine Unit was established in 1960 by Tpr. Richard Abbott and "Jocko." Currently, the department has 43 canine teams strategically placed throughout the state answering calls for service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The unit handles over 7,000 requests for services annually, making it one of the largest and busiest in the country.

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