New Downtown Sculpture Honors Police and Fire Service Dogs
A bronze sculpture honoring the City of Arlington’s retired and deceased fire and police service dogs is now on display in Downtown.
Nearly $65,000 in private donations was collected to commission the K9 Memorial Monument to represent the Arlington Fire Department and the Arlington Police Department service dogs. Arlington police, fire and other city leaders unveiled the monument, located in the City Center plaza between City Hall and the Downtown Library, during a dedication ceremony on November 11, 2020.
From helping officers apprehend suspects to conducting sweeps of buildings and public gathering for threats, Arlington's service dogs work tirelessly to keep The American Dream City safe for citizens and visitors. District 2 City Councilwoman Sheri Capehart began championing for a moment to recognize these service animals in 2011.
“We had large donations, we had small donations — but it was the community that really made this happen,” Capehart said during the dedication. “We have this beautiful sculpture, for all the dogs that served before and for the dogs that will come after.”
The sculpture, created by artist Seth Vandable, represents the late Arlington Fire Department K9 Brickman, and the late Arlington Police Department K9 Mojo.
The Arlington Police Department started its K9 Unit in 1979 with one handler and one dog. Over the years, the unit now comprises four K9 teams. Each team operates on a citywide basis and includes a K9 and handler. The unit is supervised by a sergeant within the Special Operations Section of the department. The unit responds to calls for service where high-risk felony suspects have fled the scene or during requests from patrol to assist with narcotics investigations. The four K9 teams include Dude, Boomer, Raider and Ripken.
“This monument is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our courageous police K9 teams who have served our department and community. We are thankful for the support of our city officials and citizens to create this sculpture honoring their service and sacrifice,” said interim Police Chief Kevin Kolbye.
The Arlington Fire Department's K9 Unit started in 2006 as a result of the addition of AT&T stadium. The department currently has 12 Explosive Detection Canines. All of the K9's can smell up to 19,000 different explosive compounds. These teams have had the opportunity to work various Super Bowls, World Series, Opening of the Bush Library, RNC, presidential protection and other dignitary duties along with building sweeps for threats. The department’s K9s are Jasper, Chase, Webster, Ben, Tania, George, Little, Crow, Raton, Kiara, Shiner and Rocket.
“These animals are part of our public safety family and we are here today to recognize the very important service they provide for our community,” Fire Chief Don Crowson said.
Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said he hopes visitors to City Hall and the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library will take a moment to stop by the memorial monument and appreciate its significance. A plaque centered between the dogs reads “The bond between a K9 and handler is of eternal trust in a language unique to them alone. We are forever grateful for their numerous acts of courage to protect and defend.”
“Thank you for your commitment seven days a week, 24 hours a day to make a difference in our lives and keep our citizens safe,” Williams said.