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Centerville police mourn K-9 officer killed on I-15

Sep 11, 2023, 12:38 PM | Updated: Sep 12, 2023, 3:42 pm

CENTERVILLE, Utah — The Centerville Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its K-9 officers hit and killed by a car along Interstate 15 in Davis County.

“Sophie is loved by everybody, loved by the community, loved by the officers,” said Chief Paul Child of the Centerville Police Department.

Sophie, a 6-year-old bloodhound, escaped from her handler’s home in Centerville on Sunday night. Officers spent the night looking for her, but then, Monday morning, dispatch received a call of a dog on I-15 close to Parrish Lane.

When Sophie’s handler arrived on the scene, he found she had been hit and killed.

“Her handler was actually one of the first on scene to discover her, and it’s just extremely tragic,” Child said.

Sophie joined the Centerville Police Department in 2019 and has worked with her handler, officer Jason Shield, for three years.

“His family took her in and just loved her,” Child said. “It’s pretty traumatic for him and his family.”

Sophie sticking her head out of a car door window. (Courtesy: Centerville Police) Sophie with her handler Officer Jason Shield. (Courtesy: Centerville Police)  Sophie with her handler Officer Jason Shield. (Courtesy: Centerville Police)  K-9 Sophie.(Courtesy: Centerville Police)

Sophie was known for her tracking abilities and was often called to assist on cases involving missing people. Child recalled a particular case involving a child.

“One case, there was an autistic girl that was missing in very inclement weather, and hours had gone by, and it was dark,” he said. “Sophie was able to, from the scent off the pillow, trail her down and find her hiding in some bushes trying to stay warm, and we don’t know what would have happened to her had Sophie not found her.”

With a flag draped over her and an officer standing watch, officers gathered at the Centerville Police Department Monday for a public viewing. Visitors included several K-9 officers and their handlers from around the state and Nevada.

“As law enforcement were a tight-knit group as it is, the K-9 units are even tighter than that,” Child said.

The funeral service for K-9 Sophie. (KSL TV)

A private service was held for Sophie at the police department. Shortly after, officers lined the front entrance and stood shoulder to shoulder in support of Officer Shield and Sophie as the K-9 was escorted from the building one last time.

“The officer is extremely heartbroken, it’s traumatic for him and his family,” Child said.

Taking one last ride in her handler’s police vehicle, a procession followed Sophie to an animal hospital in Farmington. A private graveside service will be held for her at a later date.

“She was an extremely valuable member of our department, and were just heartbroken at her loss,” Child said.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the expenses of purchasing and training a new K-9.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Centerville police mourn K-9 officer killed on I-15