Good Dog, Very Good Dog (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation just lost an important member of the team.

How One Dog Impacted Investigations, and Impacted Lives

800 calls answered in a crime fighting career that lasted 7 years.  The CBI's first accelerant-sniffing K-9, Erin, is credited with work that lead to at least 150 arrests for arson.  She and her partner, CBI Agent Jerry Means, logged more than a quarter of a million miles. Whenever a law enforcement agency needed help with a fire investigation , Jerry and Erin answered the call.  They worked together nights, weekends, holidays, any time the were called.

As CBI Public Information Officer Lance Clem told me today on the phone, at a fire scene, a K-9 has to sniff out possible sources for the fire, accelerants, and at the same time not disturb evidence.  At a fire scene, all you've got is ash...everything is potential evidence.  Erin would tread lightly and nod her head to alert her handler when she found something.  The Black Lab was good at her difficult job.

Erin retired from the CBI three years ago after all that work.  Lately she'd been battling cancer. 

According to a release from the CBI, last night Agent Means fed his long time partner, and full time friend some cheeseburgers and watched her quietly pass away on a lawn. 

Erin was chosen as a poster dog for a national campaign against arson, and the National Fire Dog Monument in Washington DC is modeled after her.  She was also a great ice-breaker between law enforcement and kids.  Erin put in appearances at 500 schools in her time with the bureau. 

PIO Clem told me that everyone a the CBI is sad today, they lost a friend and a family member.  Everyone who loves dogs is sad to lose one. 

All a dog has to do to be to be a dog.  When a dog also performs an important task that helps protect all of us...well, no wonder this is a rough day at the CBI. 

Agent Jerry Means is in Fowler today investigating a fire at a hair salon. He's with his new K-9 partner Sadie, probably very well-trained, good a the job, probably a good dog.  Agent Jerry Means is working with Sadie, but I'll bet he's thinking about Erin.  And I'll bet all of his colleagues at the CBI are thinking about Jerry.

So here's a tip of the hat to Erin, a good dog...a very good dog.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward



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