Cemetery offers final resting place for police K9s
EASTON, Md. – A cemetery was re-dedicated on Tuesdsay in Easton but it’s not a typical cemetery. It’s the final resting place for Maryland State Police canines, to give our four legged troopers the honor they deserve.
“The dogs that are here, they deserve this. They kind of got forgotten and that’s not okay,” says Lt. Rob Connolly with the Maryland State Police Centreville Barrack.
Seventeen headstones now mark the burial spots of seventeen police canines. “It’s a place where us as canine handlers can put our fallen heroes and it’s just an honor to have it. It really is,” says Sgt. Melissa Connolly with the Maryland State Police Canine Unit.
But the cemetery you see now is a far cry from what it used to be just a few years ago. “When we first rediscovered the cemetery back here, it was completely overgrown. Trees on top of it. It was a mess,” says Lt. Connolly.
The hard work of volunteers transformed this final resting place. “We had 40 volunteers show up. A lot of it from the neighboring development and they tore it apart like it was for their dog,” says Lt. Connolly.
That love for man’s best friend is the common thread through this whole project. “I spent five years in our canine unit. I’ve only had one canine partner, K9 Zim, and he changed my life,” says Lt. Connolly.
“She’s much much more. She’s more than a tool. She’s an extension of me. She’s my partner and I love her,” says Sgt. Connolly about her K9 partner.
But police canines are much more than just a reliable partner. “Our dogs affect people outside of the law enforcement community, blood hounds that find missing children. And it’s a place to honor them. So it’s great,” says Sgt. Connolly.
Now these dogs, many of which have saved lives, will be remembered forever. “We honor our fallen troopers. Well now we can honor our fallen four legged troopers,” says Sgt. Connolly.
Organizers tell 47 ABC, police canines play just as big of a role as officers do protecting and serving their community. Now they’ll be honored the same way.
The Maryland State Police Canine program actually started in Easton and the cemetery was created in 1968. Some of the officers say they hope the cemetery can serve an educational purpose with schools planning field trips to see it.