GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - One of Grand Rapids Police Department's longest serving and most successful police dogs has passed away.
K-9 Bak succumbed to a fast-moving cancer of the spleen, according to a news release.
He was 9 1/2 years old, spent more than eight years working with GRPD and retired in September.
K-9 Bak, handled by Officer Mike LaFave, was dispatched on 1,277 calls, had 130 successful tracks and helped arrest 149 suspects. K-9 Bak's success rate was 36%. Nationally, police dogs are successful about 3-5% of the time.
K-9 Bak was brought to Grand Rapids in 2004 with the help of donations from Meijer, MilkBone and the Grand Rapids Police Canine Unit Foundation.
Officer LaFave and other members of the GRPD K-9 Unit trained Bak and two other dogs.
K-9 Bak was loved by many in the community.
Officer LaFave noted an event with K-9 Bak that really demonstrated to him how much the dogs were appreciated. Officer LaFave and K-9 Bak did a presentation for a preschool group. The students noticed that K-9 Bak wasn't wearing a badge and asked why. Officer LaFave explained that the department did not provide them to the dogs.
Unbeknownst to Officer LaFave, the children brought the issue up to their parents. This resulted in a school-wide effort to do chores at home to raise money for a badge. The students then raised $100 for a badge for K-9 Bak. The entire class came down to the police department and surprised Officer LaFave with the badge. Officer LaFave describes this as one of his favorite moments with K-9 Bak.
K-9 Bak lived with Officer LaFave and his family, and was an integral part of their daily family life.
K-9 Bak will be buried in a private ceremony at Noah's Garden's, 2727 Orange Ave. SE. His final resting place will be alongside several other GRPD dogs in the "Valley of Heroes."
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
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