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Move to build Idaho memorial for slain police K9s gains traction

Boise police dog Jardo was honored at a Taco Bell Arena funeral service that drew an estimated 1,500 people. The Belgian Malinois was reportedly the fourth Idaho police K9 to die in the line of duty in the past 21 years.
Boise police dog Jardo was honored at a Taco Bell Arena funeral service that drew an estimated 1,500 people. The Belgian Malinois was reportedly the fourth Idaho police K9 to die in the line of duty in the past 21 years. Katherine Jones

Spurred by the line-of-duty death of Boise police dog Jardo, K9 handlers and the Idaho Peace Officers Memorial Board are moving toward adding a separate tribute to police dogs at the memorial’s Meridian site.

Memorial board members met with K9 memorial committee members last week to discuss the idea, identifying a spot near the entrance where the names of slain police dogs and a bronze canine bust could be displayed, board president Mike Johnson said Monday.

K-9 police officers — both dogs and their handlers — from around the state, along with Boise Police officers and the public, gathered to honor K-9 Police Officer Jardo, who was shot Nov. 11 working with other officers to apprehend a violent suspec

Now it’s up to the committee to raise funds and come up with a specific proposal to present to the Idaho Peace Officers Memorial Board for approval, he said.

"We've got a location, and if they raise the money and come up with a plan, it's probably going to happen,” Johnson said. “The board would still have to approve it.”

A GoFundMe page, established three days after Jardo’s Nov. 16 death, has so far raised more than $3,000 toward its $40,000 goal. Organizers of the fund-raising effort could not be reached for comment about their plans Monday evening.

Jardo was shot Nov. 11 while pursuing a suspect who shot two Boise officers, critically injuring one of them. The dog lost a lung and appeared to be recovering well before he suddenly sickened and died of a heart attack caused by internal bleeding from his injuries. An estimated 1,500 people gathered for his memorial service at Taco Bell Arena.

“K9 Jardo immediately went toward the gunfire and attempted to apprehend the suspect,” according to the Idaho Police K9 Memorial GoFundMe page “In doing so, the suspect diverted from firing on officers and turned the gun on Jardo.”

Boise Police Chief Bill Bones speaks about the life and career of K9 Police Officer Jardo, who was shot Nov. 11 working with other officers to apprehend a violent suspect. (Two other human officers were also shot.) Jardo died on Nov. 16. A memoria

Jardo was apparently the fourth Idaho police dog killed in the line of duty, and all would be memorialized at the planned tribute. The others, listed on the GoFundMe page, are:

Emmett police dog Roscoe, who died after the patrol vehicle he was riding in was rear-ended at a stop light in July.

Bonnveille County sheriff’s dog Rik, who was fatally shot by a suspect in June 2002 after a three-county pursuit. His handler also was shot and wounded.

Bannock County sheriff’s dog Kai, shot and killed while apprehending an armed suspect in March 1995.

Representatives of the peace officer’s memorial have been deluged by questions about adding police dogs to the memorial since Jardo’s death, Johnson said. And although federal regulations would not allow adding K9s to the same memorial as human officers, he said, the board had been mulling the idea of a separate memorial at their site even before the Boise dog was shot.

Requirements for the new memorial would likely parallel those of the existing memorial, naming only police dogs that had died from injuries received in the line of duty, he said. There appears to be no national memorial for K9s, he said, but some other states and large cities have such memorials.

Idaho’s envisioned site is directly across from the existing officers’ memorial, Johnson said. No time frame or specific design has been set for the K9 memorial, he said, and much depends on fund-raising effort.

"If every dog lover gave a dollar, you'd have the thing built," Johnson said.

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

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