Jardo was hailed as a hero Tuesday.
“He ran forward into fire to engage the suspect and to prevent additional rounds from being fired at the rest of his team,” Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said of the 6-year-old police dog, who died five days after the Nov. 11 shooting that sent two officers to the hospital. “He ultimately gave his life after being shot by the suspect to provide precious time for his fellow officers to prevent injury or death.”
As many as 1,500 people — and at least 30 police dogs from departments across the state — attended a memorial service at Taco Bell Arena on Tuesday. There were many human tears and some canine noise.
“For the canines here, it’s OK to whine, it’s OK to bark. I think that’s only appropriate today,” Bones said.
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Jardo was posthumously awarded the Canine Medal of Honor and Police Cross.
Jardo was shot by fugitive Marco Romero, wanted in connection with a double shooting and a carjacking in Meridian. Members of the Special Operations Unit were doing a yard-to-yard search on Irving Street in the Central Rim neighborhood when Romero opened fire, striking Cpl. Chris Davis and Cpl. Kevin Holtry.
Romero died from his injuries. Davis, who was shot in the leg, was treated and released from the hospital. Holtry, who was shot multiple times, remains hospitalized. The 17-year police veteran was upgraded to fair condition Tuesday.
The pastor who led the prayer at Jardo’s memorial service was Arnold Ruby, the father-in-law of the late Mark Arlin Stall — the 29-year-old who was the first recorded Boise police officer killed in the line of duty.
“It was at this very location 19 years ago that our family, this police department and this community gathered en masse for the funeral service of my son-in-law,” Ruby recalled.
Stall was shot and killed during a traffic stop in 1997.
“Now again ... we’re gathered here due to a traumatic and deadly incident in our city,” Ruby said. “Once again we’re confronted with the dangers that our officers face from time to time — the face of evil. We’re reminded again about the risks that these men and women assume in keeping the peace in the city.”
Boisean Helen Kett, like hundreds in the community who have come forward, said she was saddened by Jardo’s death.
“I hope that maybe the police department will find some lightweight protective outerwear” for dogs, she said.
The Boise Police Canine Unit was created in 1996. More than 20 officers have served as handlers during that time, and they consider the police dogs part of their families, K-9 Officer Marshall Plaisted said during the service.
“The day-to-day life of a Boise police canine handler is like no other. Each day presents trials and tribulations,” Plaisted said. “For instance, this uniform was clean when I put it on. I swear I just vacuumed my car.”
Jardo, a Belgian Malinois, was acquired by the department in 2013. He was trained in drug detection and suspect apprehension. Jardo worked 900 incidents that resulted in 250 arrests, Bones said.
Jardo’s handler was Cpl. Shane Williams. A photo montage at the memorial service played to the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” showed how much the dog was loved by Williams’ family and colleagues.
Garden City resident Mary Christon said she attended the service to show support for local law enforcement.
“I just appreciate these people so much, and what they do for us,” Christon said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize the danger.”
Boise native Gordy Terrell, who has known Holtry since the 1980s, said he saw the start of the memorial service on TV and decided to bring his Heeler-Border Collie mix, Eleanor, down to the arena. He recalled being shocked and upset when he learned that Holtry had been shot.
“I haven’t broke down and cried about it yet but at some point I will,” he said.
Bones and Plaisted said the entire police department was thankful to the veterinarians who provided emergency care to Jardo. The dog appeared to be on the mend when he attended a community vigil on Nov. 15, but he died the next night.
“It’s been a difficult couple years in law enforcement. It’s been a very difficult couple weeks for our department,” Bones said. “But one of the bright spots in troubled days was seeing Jardo walking around the station. Those extra days were gold to us.”
At the end of the service, the “final 42” — the last radio call — was played in honor of the police dog. It included this touching excerpt:
“Jardo gave his life in the line of duty protecting his fellow officers. Jardo made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live. There is no greater honor. Jardo, you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, knowing that we have the watch from here.”
The police canine handlers formed two lines outside the arena after the service. Williams carried Jardo’s urn through the honor corridor to a Special Operations Unit vehicle waiting for him and his family.