ROGERSVILLE — K9 officers from Sullivan County, Morristown and Pigeon Forge joined the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office Thursday in honoring and remembering fallen K9 Deputy Eragon, who died in a kennel accident Dec. 27.
The memorial held at the Tennessee National Guard Armory in Rogersville was especially emotional for Eragon’s handler, Sgt. Lynn Campbell, and Campbell’s wife, Natasha.
Eragon was more than a partner. He was a member of their family. And Eragon’s death comes less than a year after Campbell’s previous K9 partner, Rocco, died last February as a result of a sudden illness.
“You spend so much time with your K9 on a day-to-day basis, and so much time in training. The bond that you have with your dog is very close,” said Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office K9 handler Lee Carswell.
Carswell and his K9 Brutus joined several other area K9 officers at Thursday’s memorial.
“In my case he’s like one of my kids,” Carswell added. “I couldn’t imagine (losing Brutus). I’m sure it’s devastating.”
SCSO K9 handler Melissa Marlowe said she doesn’t want to think about the possibility of losing one of her K9 partners, even though she knows it’s inevitable. Her first partner, C.J., is 14 years old and long retired living with Marlowe at home.
“They’re just like family,” she said. “They’re with us 24/7. They ride in the car with us during our whole shift, and when we go home they’re with us at home. They’re part of the family.
“It’s just a real sad day to know one of our K9s passed away, and we know what they must be going through, and that’s why we’re here — to show our support.”
High winds the night of Dec. 27 caused a rip in the canvas covering Eragon’s kennel.
Sheriff Ronnie Lawson said the canvas was “ripped into shreds.” Eragon became tangled up in the canvas, which resulted in his death.
Eragon was donated to the HCSO by Food City shortly after the death of Rocco.
A Belgian Malinois bred in France, Eragon was put in service on the HCSO Narcotics Unit with handler Campbell on May 13 of last year.
Eragon was certified through the Southern Police K9 Association in narcotics on June 7.
During his seven months in service, Eragon’s searches resulted in six arrests, nearly $47,000 in forfeited assets, and two successful tracking missions.
During Thursday’s ceremony, on a table in front of the podium was placed an urn containing Ergaon’s ashes and draped with Eragon’s collar — flanked by a photo of Eragon on one side and a photo of Eragon with Campbell on the other.
“Any time we lose an officer it hurts the law enforcement community, and when we lost Eragon we lost an officer,” Lawson said during the ceremony. “To me a K9 officer is no different than the ones out here riding in the cars or working in the jails.”
Lawson added, “It’s a sad day to remember this, but we’re hoping in the future Eragon can be replaced and we can move forward.”
Other speakers included Chief Deputy Tony Allen, Department Chaplain Daris Horne, and Narcotics Unit Lt. Chad Gillenwater, who made his own comments and then read a eulogy for Eragon written by Campbell.
“He was watchful, faithful, loyal and true,” Gillenwater read from Campbell’s eulogy. “Eragon asked nothing in return for his work other than occasional praise or reward of a tennis ball. For those police officers current and past who were lucky enough to serve alongside these brave animals, they know when it comes to a partner there are none better.
“Eragon was my partner, my protector and most of all my best friend.”comments powered by Disqus