Decorated Camden K-9 Officer Zero Dies After Years of Service [PHOTOS]
The Camden County Police Department bid farewell to one of its most decorated members. K-9 Officer Zero died Tuesday morning. He was 12 years old.
"Our hearts our heavy as we mark the passing of K-9 Zero - a beloved member of the Camden County Police Department family who passed at age 12 today, Dec. 29, 2015," Camden County Police wrote in a Facebook Post late Tuesday afternoon.
Zero passed away at home with his partner and handler, Camden County Lt. Zsakhiem James. On Tuesday afternoon, police officers and K-9 officers from several departments in New Jersey joined Camden County Police for a procession that ended at a local dog hospital, according to police. Light rain fell as the procession traveled down Route 130 to Rothman Animal Hospital in Collingswood. Along the route, fellow K-9 officers and their handlers lined the streets, saluting the fallen officer.
Zero made 68 criminal apprehensions during his career - a K-9 record in New Jersey, according to the police department. He was the Garden State's most decorated K-9 and was honored for his service a number of times, including during a ceremony at the State House in Trenton. His reward for catching "bad guys" was typically a 10-piece chicken McNugget meal, his partner said.
“His greatest legacy was the bridges he built with the children of this city,” James said of his beloved K-9 partner.
He said the dog was more than just a partner, he was also family.
“He was a member of my family. He was a member of this family. There was no other dog like him," James said.
Zero was a black Czech shepherd who joined the Camden Police Department in 2007. In addition to his work helping to apprehend criminals, Zero was known for being kid-friendly. Lt. James would often bring him to local schools and community events where he would allow children to pet him.