Memorial for K9 officers to break ground

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- While many people have dogs at home, how many of them put their lives on the line every day?That's exactly what police K9s do, and there will soon be a first of its kind memorial to them begin construction.There can be no doubt, Gator can find the dope; 6.9 grams of heroin. His favorite tennis ball and some praise was reward enough. With the growing drug problem across the Tri-State, the importance of K9 units has increased dramatically.The officers train constantly. In one group, Pierce Township's Jay Shaw and his partner Razec are the old dogs. Razec joined the department in April 2005. He will be retiring in August 2015.One of the newest local K9 teams is Danny Spears and Paco. Paco's first day on duty was Saturday, June 13, and he already has three drug arrests to his name.His handler Danny said, "He'll jump up on my boy, lick him in the face. My wife the same thing. He knows when he's home and as soon as I'm getting dressed, usually I get dressed as I'm feeding him and everything like that, and he knows when it's work time."Monte, the dog from Mount Orab, found the heroin in just 60 seconds. Upstairs, Razec was just about as quick with the meth. It's that kind of dedication that prompted officer Craig Heintzleman to come up with what will be the Ohio Police K9 Memorial.The groundbreaking is Saturday, June 20, in Amelia.Heintzleman said, "We put so much time in together as a team and I think they deserve just as much recognition as the officer. Really we're just the one's driving them around and they're doing the work for us."A statue, a boulder and bricks named for K9's will all be there. A dog will also be carved out of a huge tree. But they all pale when compared with the real thing.Officer Shaw's dog, Razec, will be officially retired the day of the dedication ceremony in August. The groundbreaking Saturday is also a workday, and volunteers are welcome.A fundraiser on the site, which is on 125 in Amelia, will begin at 1 p.m. CLICK HERE for the memorial's Facebook page.

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