BELLEVILLE, Ill. — The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department honored the life of one of its own Friday. Deputies laid to rest a highly-respected German Shepherd police dog.
Officers from multiple departments honored the life of K-9 officer "Boss." The 8-year-old dog passed away last week.
“It's like losing a family member. It was one of the hardest things I had to do in my 10 years in law enforcement,” said Deputy Sean McPeak.
McPeak was Boss' handler, partner, friend, and family member. A prayer and moment of silence was held for him after his sudden death.
“It's kind of common in canines of larger size. Drinking too much water, then he ate right after that. His stomach flipped and there wasn't much they could do at the vet,” McPeak said.
A long line of police cars drove from the sheriff's department to Sauget, his final resting place, at the East West K-9 training grounds.
“Boss was a unique dog. As in, nobody wanted to be around him, even cops. They were pretty much scared around him at work,” McPeak said.
When Boss was working, he was nasty. But at home, he was a lover and protector of the McPeaks.
“You're basically with dogs more than your family. It's important to have them on the force,” McPeak said.
Boss sniffed out drugs on the street, chased down suspects and visited kids at schools.
He will also be missed by the Belleville Animal Clinic.
“The brotherhood is strong here and Boss. He was definitely a part of the Belleville animal family facility,” Bellevile Animal Clinic administrator Cheryl Yarber.