The family of a police sergeant killed while off-duty has lost a close loved one, but gained another in turn.
On Aug. 22, Sergeant Mike Pershall with the Modesto Police Department in Central California was riding his bike while off-duty on the east side of the city when a suspected drunk driver hit him. He died from his injuries and left behind his work partner of two years, a Belgian Malinois police K-9 named Ike.
The Modesto Police Department received an outpouring of support from the community to help Pershall's family, with many offering to donate money to pay for the family to keep his police dog in his memory. Belgian Malinois K-9s can cost as much as $10,000 to train, so the price tag was seemingly steep.
Police Chief Galen Carroll decided it was worth trying to stick his neck out to let the fallen officer's family keep his dog. Carroll went before the Modesto City Council this week to try and convince them to make it happen.
"It is not a good deal for the police department to lose the dog," Carroll said at the meeting. "But there is also the human factor of, you have a wife and two kids who just lost their dad, and that’s the family dog. What is the right thing to do?"
City officials listened as Carroll and others tried them to convince them to allow the sale of the K-9 to the family. They approved the sale unanimously for $1, so Ike will now retire and spend the rest of his days in the family's loving care.
Funds raised from donations and fundraisers from the Modesto Police Canine Association will go to pay for Ike's replacement.
The suspected drunk driver involved in the officer's death, 32-year-old Matthew Gibbs, was apprehended and charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated.