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.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.