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News Release Bak - Final Draft

News Release Bak - Final Draft

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Published by pmerrill7182

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Published by: pmerrill7182 on Dec 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1 Monroe Center, N.W., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-2906 APPROVED: MM539 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:FOR RELEASE: 12-3-2012 Officer Mike Lafave 456-3321 (available @ 8:00 am)mlafave@grcity.us K-9 Sgt. Darren Geraghty Phone: 560-5967dgeraght@grcity.us 
Death of Retired Police Dog K-9 Bak
 One of Grand Rapids Police Departments longest serving, and most successful, police dogshas passed away. K-9 Bak succumbed to a fast moving cancer of the spleen. He was 9 ½years old, and spent over 8 years working as a GRPD Police Dog. K-9 Bak had recentlyretired in September.K-9 Bak, handled by Officer Mike Lafave, tracked to suspects that tried to hide in the sky andunder the dirt, along with everything in between. In one incident the team tracked to a machetewielding suspect that had tried to evade the dog team by climbing up and hiding in a large tree.The dog quickly figured out he was hiding above. In another, a suspect wanted for a felonywarrant ran from officers and climbed deep underground via a drain pipe access. Based uponK-
9 Bak’s indication of the underground suspect
, excavating equipment was brought in. Thewet and cold suspect was unearthed, but required immediate medical help due to adangerously low body temperature.K-9 Bak was an extraordinary tracking dog. Nationally, police dogs are successful about 3-5%of the time they head off to locate a suspect on a track. Despite working almost exclusively inan urban environment, K-9 Bak was successful on 36% of his tracks. K-9 Bak had 130successful tracks during his tenure at GRPD. His tracking success can be attributed to hiscalm focus, along with a handler who was very dedicated to training.K-9 Bak was brought to Grand Rapids in 2004. Donation
s from Meijer’s, Milkbone, and the
Grand Rapids Police Canine Unit Foundation assisted with his purchase. He was trained,along with two other dogs, by Officer Lafave and other members of the GRPD K-9 Unit.Training the dogs in-house saved a significant amount of money, and produced excellentresults.K-9 Bak was loved by many in the community. Officer Lafave noted an event with K-9 Bak thatreally demonstrated to him how much the dogs were appreciated. Officer Lafave and K-9 Bakdid a presentation for a preschool group. The students noticed that K-
9 Bak wasn’t wearing abadge and asked why he didn’t have one. Officer Lafave explained that the department did
not provide them to the dogs. 
Grand Rapids Police Department
1 Monroe Center, N.W., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-2906Unbeknownst to Officer Lafave, the children brought the issue up to their parents. Thisresulted in a school wide effort to do chores at home to raise money for a badge. After aconsiderable amount of hard work the students had raised $100 for a badge for K-9 Bak. Theentire class came down to the police department and surprised Officer Lafave, along with K-9Bak, with the hard earned badge. Officer Lafave describes this as one of his favorite momentswith K-9 Bak.K-9 Bak wore his badge with pride as he helped arrest some of the most violent criminals intown. The badge always provided a visible reminder of who K-9 Bak was working to protect.K-9 Bak also helped return Officer Lafave and the Officers on Patrol Unit One home safelyeach night during his eight years at the department.K-9 Bak lived at home with the Officer Lafave and his family. He was loved at home and wasan integral part of the daily family life. He will be sorely missed at home.During his GRPD Career K-9 Bak went on 1,277 calls where he helped officers. He tracked,searched for drugs, and cleared buildings for hidden suspects among other tasks. He wasresponsible for the arrest of 149 suspects.K-
9 Bak will be buried in a private ceremony at Noah’s Garden’s, 2727 Orange Ave SE. His
final resting place is alongside several o
ther GRPD dogs in the “Valley of Heroes.”
Lieutenant Mark Mathis #539mmathis@grcity.us 

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