Honoring a fallen officer
Dec 10, 2019 12:11PM
● By Cassie Goff
Mayor Peterson and Police Chief Robby Russo presented the Daugherty family with a plague honoring their fallen officer. (Tim Beery/Cottonwood Heights)
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
The Cottonwood Heights Police Department (CHPD) recently experienced a loss. K9 Officer Chip passed away from cancer after eight years of service.
On Nov. 5, Chip was recognized by the Cottonwood Heights City Council. His handler, Sgt. Thom Daugherty, and his family were present to witness the recognition.
“Like their human counterparts, canine’s do get ill,” said Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo. “Chip became ill and died of cancer on the night of our police banquet. We didn’t want this moment to go unrecognized because Chip was one of our officers.”
When Daugherty brought Chip by the department it was clear that “the civilian staff loved that animal. He was a very sweet dog,” Russo reported. “But when it came time to work, he knew it was time to work.”
Canine officers go on patrol with their human counterparts and carry out similar duties. They do everything from searching for evidence and sniffing out drugs to chasing down bad guys.
“First and foremost, their responsibility is to keep the human being/handler/officer safe,” Russo said. “They go in first for us: jumping out of aircraft, searching attics and leaping fences. We use them on the SWAT team. At times, they’ve been injured.”
The three canine officers on the CHPD force live with their handlers and their families. Chip not only belonged to Daugherty, but to his wife Shelly and their daughter Bella.
Cottonwood Heights Mayor Michael Peterson presented Thom, Shelly, and Bella Daugherty with a plaque. In the plaque was a picture of Chip (taken by an associate of the police department), along with Chip’s badge and collar.
“Please accept this with our gratitude,” said Russo and CHPD Assistant Chief Paul Brenneman to Daugherty and his family.
“I had a little bit of help with this. The collar was given to us by Shelly, unbeknownst to her husband,” Russo told the City Council.
Peterson echoed that sentiment. “From the city council, thank you for your service. Thank you for letting us share in this special time with you. We understand that it’s a true loss. We appreciate all you do.”
Chip’s end of watch was Aug. 28, 2019. His plaque will hang in the CHPD offices.