OPD, community remember K-9 dog Raizi after succumbing to work-related injuries

April 1, 2019 | 3:21 pm

Updated April 1, 2019 | 3:24 pm

K-9 Raizi served the residents of Owensboro for nearly 10 years on patrol and was integral in helping to keep our streets safe. K-9 Raizi and his handler, Officer Chris Watkins, were responsible for hundreds of felony apprehensions and played a large role in preventing drugs from entering our community. | Photos contributed by OPD

The recent death of Raizi, a german shepherd within Owensboro Police Department’s K-9 unit, has greatly affected the officers at OPD, as well as police departments across the state. Several posts have been made via Facebook, expressing condolences toward OPD and, especially, toward Chris Watkins, Raizi’s trainer and longtime handler in the K-9 unit.

According to a news release from OPD, Raizi succumbed to work-related injuries on March 31, 2019, after serving on patrol for 10 years. He was one of three trained dogs who helped assess the level of safety in high-risk situations, uncover drugs, and sniff out bombs and other potentially harmful weaponry that could harm the humans around him.

“K-9 Raizi and his handler, Officer Chris Watkins, were responsible for hundreds of felony apprehensions and played a large role in preventing drugs from entering our community,” the OPD news release said. “Two of Raizi’s largest drug seizures were 5 kilograms of methamphetamine and a second seizure of over 60 pounds of marijuana.”

Raizi was requested to assist other local, state, and federal agencies on numerous occasions and has assisted in seizing over a million dollars in property and money over the course of his career.

OPD K-9 Officer Steve Morgan said Raizi was a great partner to have on the K-9 unit, tagging fellow K-9 Unit Officer Watkins in a picture with the late Raizi.

“What a great partner he was,” Morgan said. “Caught a lot of bad guys and got a lot of drugs off the street. RIP Raizi Roo, you did your job well and asked for nothing in return. Thank you for your service.”

In an article written by the Owensboro Times on Sept. 4, Watkins described the intensely close bond kept between the officers and their canine partners in OPD’s K-9 unit.

“These dogs are with us 24/7,” Watkins said. “They’re integrated into our families.”

The Ohio Cops Facebook Page posted their condolences toward the loss of Raizi, telling the public that Raizi’s passing hit home due to a friendship with the K-9’s handler.

“K-9 Raizi suddenly passed away unexpectedly. Our thoughts and prayers go to K-9 Raizi and the Owensboro Police Department (Kentucky),” the post said.

“This weekend on of our very own admins on this page lost his police dog K9 Raizi to an injury that he could not recover from,” the Support Our Heroes page posted. “My heart is broken for you Chris. Let’s pay our respects to Chris and K9 Raizi.”

Even firefighters across the regional area shared their condolences for OPD’s loss of the heroic canine on their respective Facebook pages.

“Local 870 is saddened to learn of the passing of OPD K-9 Officer Raizi,” said IAFF 870/Owensboro Professional Firefighters. “Officer Raizi was a firehouse favorite and there is no doubt that the streets of Owensboro are safer because of his efforts. Please keep OPD and especially Officer Chris Watkins in your thoughts and prayers. Rest easy brother.”

The Fraternal Order of Police 16 also shared their gratitude toward Raizi’s heroic years with OPD, as well as their sympathy toward Raizi’s passing.

“Sad to report that OPD K9 Raizi was put to sleep this morning due to health issues. Thank you for your service and rest in peace,” the Sunday afternoon post said.

Watkins told Owensboro Times that he put more trust into his partner, Raizi, than anyone else on the OPD staff.

“With K-9s, we totally eliminate everybody else because the dog is who I trust. At the end of the day, though, they’re dogs. They like to have fun,” Watkins said. “It’s a big commitment. We’re with our dogs more than our families.”

April 1, 2019 | 3:21 pm

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