PORTLAND – Officers are mourning the loss of a Portland police dog killed in the line of duty Wednesday, and it has put the spotlight on the special bond between K-9 partners.
Officer Jeff Dorn and his partner 'Mick' were both shot after a burglary and traffic stop early Wednesday morning. Mick died from a single bullet wound and was found after a massive search effort, dead under a nearby hedge, according to the Oregon State Medical Examiner.
Dorn, who is expected to fully recover, later said, “Mick saved my life.”
Mick, a two-year-old purebred German Shepherd imported from Germany, had his name changed from Dusty vom Langgarten to Mickey by Dorn’s family, according to police.
The dog passed his police dog certification on March 5, 2014 and nine days later, made his first three captures in the same day, said Sgt Pete Simpson of the Portland police. (see exclusive videos below).
“Mick had five total captures before he was gunned down, including the capture of a burglary suspect for North Precinct officers on April 15, 2014, the night before he was killed,” Simpson said.
Denver police officer Brett Titus brought Mick from Germany and helped train him. He was stunned when he got the news.
“It actually blew my mind to hear that he had such a short career,” said Titus. “It's even more heartbreaking because I know those guys are devastated…they are true dog lovers, true professionals in the K-9 world.”
Titus said Officer Dorn had emailed him less than a month ago to say how great Mick was doing.
Current and former K-9 officers stated the bond they built with their animals is unlike any other relationship in police work.
“I spent more time with that dog than I did with my family,” said former K-9 officer Bob Gross of his partner, Bully. “I just hope that the officer does well and knows that I'm thinking about him.”
Gross said he knows it will be hard for Dorn to recover after the loss, but he hopes when the wounds heal Dorn can work with another canine partner.
He added that most police dogs, like most officers, have long careers and work hard up until their retirement. In fact, Gross said that he left the force when Bully retired. The dog then spent the rest of his life with Gross’ family.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Portland police K-9 unit can send donations to:
Portland Police Bureau K-9 Unit
4735 East Burnside Street
Portland, Oregon 97215
KGW reporters Erica Heartquist and Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.