Modesto, CA – The city of Modesto decided that a fallen officer’s family needed his K9 more than the police department needed the $9,000 investment in the K9.
Modesto Police Sgt. Mike Pershall was off-duty when he was killed in a traffic crash. He was bicycling near his home on Tuesday, August 22, when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Matthew Gibbs, according to the Modesto Bee.
Gibbs was arrested at the scene, and is pending charges of homicide and DUI.
Sgt. Pershall was 38-years-old when he was killed, and left behind his wife Christine, and two sons, one in junior high, and one in high school.
He had just been promoted to Sergeant on August 8, and had been K9 Ike’s handler for two years. Sgt. Pershall was mourned by his department, who described him as a “born leader” who was passionate about his community.
Sgt. Pershall was also a Field Training Officer, and Modesto Police spokeswoman Heather Graves said that he “led by example and was a positive role model for the new and young members of the department.”
The city of Modesto has invested $9,137 in K9 Ike, a Belgian Malinois. He is just three-years old, and an expected K9’s career usually lasts until they are about eight-years-old.
After Sgt. Pershall’s death, Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll asked the Modesto City Council to consider “the human factor,” according to WMTW.
He said, “It is not a good deal for the Police Department to lose the dog. 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?”
The city council agreed on Tuesday, October 3, and K9 Ike will be retired.
He will then be sold to Sgt. Pershall’s family for the amount of $1, and will remain with the family for the rest of his life.