Gero was brought from Slovakia in February, 2002, to work as a certified police dog in Grand Junction, Colorado. This German shepherd could detect narcotics, apprehend suspects, track, build searches, and protect his handler. Earlier this year, after apprehending an aggravated-robbery suspect, he was honored by the National Police Canine Association as the Police Patrol Dog of the quarter. This wasn't unusual for him—during his career, Gero was used 129 times to search for narcotics, tracked suspects 21 times, searched buildings 29 times, apprehended suspects 85 times, and protected his handler 41 times.
Gero's outstanding record came to an end March 6, 2004, when he took a bullet intended for Officer Eric Janusz. The man who shot Gero, 26-year-old John Robert Martinez, died two days later from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
At the memorial service, Janusz credited Gero with saving his life. "He saw the threat and went towards it. He went directly in front of us and saved our lives. My wife and my child have a husband and a father thanks to [Gero]," he said. Other officers honored the dog's memory, saying he was more interested in getting back to work than getting his wounds treated. He was remembered as an animal who loved to bite. "I'm going to miss being afraid of him," officer Lincoln Folkers said.
Donations are being accepted for a new police dog through all Alpine Bank locations in Grand Junction and Montrose, Colorado. More information about Gero is available here.
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