Memorial held for fallen K-9 officer

GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKRC) – He was described as fearless, dedicated, and committed to safety. All characteristics of a good police officer.

“Dino” the K9 officer was a six-year veteran of the Green Township department when he died.

Police officers came from miles around, about three dozen of the cops were canine officers, along with their dogs, paying respects to the Green Township K9 named Dino and to Dino’s handler Corporal Tony Leidenbur.

Dino collapsed and died while doing his job, tracking bad guys wanted for burglary and kidnapping.

“Dino lost his life on September 25th while attempting to apprehend three suspect who had just committed a violent crime. I don’t think he would have lived it any other way,” said Green Township Police Chief Jim Vetter.

It was a solemn ceremony. The 7-year old dog was Green Township’s only canine, but another one is coming.

Bruce and Nancy Haverkamp are paying for it. The Haverkamp’s son Matt was a Deer Park canine officer who was killed in an off-duty traffic accident in 2005.

Since then, the Haverkamp’s have purchased more than 50 police dogs for area departments. Green Township was the latest.

“Well it’s heartbreaking. Dino and Tony were an awesome team, and what better way to honor Dino but to fund another dog for Green Township. We’re purchasing another dog. Tony brought him yesterday. A Belgian Malinois [Just like Dino],” said Nancy.

When you attend a ceremony like this you come away with the feeling that Dino was treated just like police officer. Well, he was.

“Dino played the role of a police officer in the community. His mission was what our mission is, to keep the community safe,” said

So the community said goodbye with a gun salute and like for any other police officer, there was taps. Only this time, you could hear police dogs as well.

The new Green Township K9, who has not been named yet, will undergo 13 weeks of training.

The last area police dog to die in the line of duty was a Cincinnati K9 named Bandit, who was shot and killed by a suspect in 1987.