CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Centerville Police Department mourns loss of K-9 Sophie

Sep 11, 2023, 6:00 PM

a photo of K-9 sophie show with the words "in memory of k-9 sophie"...

The Centerville Police Department is mourning the tragic loss of their K-9 Sophie after she was hit by a car Monday morning. (Centerville Police Department Facebook)

(Centerville Police Department Facebook)

CENTERVILLE, Utah — The Centerville Police Department is mourning the loss of their K-9 Sophie.

Lt. Allan Ackerson with CPD said K-9 Sophie got loose Sunday night. She was found the next morning after being hit by a car on I-15.

Ackerson said Sophie had been with the department since 2019. She was donated to the department by Northeast Houndsmen, an organization located in Massachusetts.

Sophie was initially trained by another officer before being given to her handler, Officer Jason Shields.

Remembering K-9 Sophie

K-9 Sophie was a bloodhound trained in tracking.

“K-9 Sophie was instrumental in locating many people in our community,” Ackerson said. “Autistic children who had wandered off [and] people with Alzheimer’s who had wandered off … she was able to locate them. We’ve had many fugitives who were apprehended based on Sophie’s actions.”

Along with this, Ackerson said she was a very hard-working and fun dog, “who slobbered a lot.”

“This incident is just tragic. Most particularly for Officer Shields and his family,” he said. “Our K-9s live with their handlers 24/7… The handlers end up spending more time with their K-9s than they do [with] any of their own family or anyone else, for that matter.”

Officers spent a “good half” of the night searching for Sophie with no luck, according to Ackerson. Once reports of a bloodhound on the highway came in, they knew it was Sophie.

“By the time we got there it was too late,” Ackerson said. “We’re at a loss right now with grief.”

Ackerson said Sophie is irreplaceable.

“She was one of the top tracking dogs in [the] state,” he said. “She was a go-to for any time someone needed to find someone … We had Salt Lake … calling Sophie out to go into Salt Lake City to go and help search for people. She was that good.”

A public burial service will be held soon at the Centerville Police Department. Each K-9 at the department gets a headstone or some sort of memorial marker.

Related: Woods Cross announces resignation chief of police

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Centerville Police Department mourns loss of K-9 Sophie