APD mourns loss of K-9

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2010

Members of the Andalusia Police Department are mourning the loss of one of their own after the death of its K-9, Kas.

Assistant chief Mike Bowlan said Kas, the K-9 partner of Officer Nic Ireland, died Jan. 13.

“Kas was not only a great asset to the Andalusia Police Department but to all of the agencies and citizens of Covington County,” Bowlan said. “To say that he will be missed is an understatement.”

Bowlan said Ireland obtained Kas from the United States Department of Defense at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, while he was employed with the Covington County Sheriff’s Department. Kas was a Belgian Malinois, a breed often utilized by law enforcement agencies. Officer Ireland and Kas conducted many seminars at local schools and were responsible for numerous drug-related cases.

Bowlan said Kas was laid to rest on the new APD training facility property where a special place was reserved just for that purpose.

“Often when these animals are buried, it is at the handler’s residence, and sometimes the handler may relocate, so we wanted a place utilized for this purpose of keeping it dear to our officers,” he said. “Eventually we have plans to construct a K-9 training facility on this property, and it would only be fitting for us to reserve an area for these animals as they are very important to us.

“When the death of a police dog occurs it affects us all, this is difficult not only for the handlers but also their families,” he said. “These animals become a part of the family as they live with the handler, his wife and children. These animals quickly win your heart each having different personalities, but they are also trained to make a sacrifice if needed to protect human life.”

A headstone marker for Kas was purchased and donated by local attorney Walt Merrell.

“It takes a special kind of officer to be a K-9 handler – putting in all the long training hours, the long hours spent in the patrol vehicles, and then to have to say good-bye to a best friend,” he said.

“I know that Officer Ireland is grateful for all the support that was shown to him during this difficult time.”