LAKELAND, Fla. — The Lakeland Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.
Sergeant Travis Miller passed away Thursday morning "after a hard-fought battle with cancer," the department announced on Facebook.
"Travis you were simply the best. It was an honor to serve alongside you. Thank you for your leadership, your friendship and your service to both our country and our community," the post reads.
Miller was born and raised in Tampa. After he enlisted in the Marine Corps., the department said he served as a Military Police Working Dog Handler, achieving the rank of sergeant.
"Sergeant Miller trained and certified three military working dogs during his active duty service, deploying with the United States Secret Service to New York City, NY and Camp David, Maryland. Sergeant Miller was stationed in Okinawa, JP and Cherry Point, NC where he served as the canine trainer for his unit," the department explained.
After his time with the Marine Corps, Miller joined the Polk County Sheriff's Office in 2005, where he's said to have held many roles, including as a K-9 handler.
"Please keep Travis Miller’s family and his brothers & sisters in law enforcement in your prayers as we mourn the loss of this truly great man. We were honored to have him at PCSO and so proud of all he achieved in his short but remarkable life," the Polk County Sheriff's Office wrote in his honor.
Prior to joining the Lakeland Police Department in 2014, the Polk County Sheriff's Office shared the story of one of Miller and his K-9's achievements.
"Guess who caught a bad guy on his VERY FIRST DAY on patrol? Matrix!! The canine Mosaic donated to PCSO!" the agency shared on May 8, 2014.
The post goes on to explain that it was a burglary suspect Matrix helped catch on his first day on the road, alongside his then-partner Deputy Sheriff Travis Miller.
Once at the Lakeland Police Department, he continued his work as a K-9 handler, adding to his extensive experience training and handling four-legged public servants.
In 2017, he and K-9 Hunter were honored with the Diogi K9 Hero of the Year award by SPCA Florida.
"Miller and Hunter were recognized for an alert that occurred during a traffic stop that resulted in the confiscation of drugs and arrest. The duo were working during the 'Slow Your Roll' Safety and Saturation patrol this past August. GREAT WORK and Congratulations!" the department wrote at the time.
In total, the Lakeland Police Department said Miller had a combined 22 years of law enforcement experience. Read their full tribute below: