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JPD Mourns Loss Of Retired K-9

Officer Erik Kraft is pictured with K-9 Mitchell. P-J file photo

Members of the Jamestown Police Department were mourning the loss of K-9 Mitchell, a retired canine who years earlier was wounded in the line of duty only to return and continue serving the community.

K-9 Mitchell, according to the department in a message posted to Facebook on Saturday, died due to complications from cancer at the age of 12. He served with his handler, officer Erik Kraft, for about eight years.

“Mitchell was everything an officer could ask for in a K-9 partner,” JPD said in its message, “loyal, brave, disciplined and intelligent. His detection work was unprecedented and led to numerous arrests and drug seizures in his career.”

In November 2016, K-9 Mitchell was injured during a confrontation at a Todd Avenue home with a man wanted in connection to a murder investigation. The injury, a serious stab wound under his jaw, occurred at the conclusion of a six-hour standoff.

“If not for the emergency lifesaving care provided by his handler and Moonbrook Veterinary Hospital, Mitchell’s life may have been cut short,” the department said. “As a testament to Mitchell’s never-give-up drive, Mitchell not only fought that day, but returned to full duty to serve and protect the city of Jamestown.”

Just over a month after the incident, Kraft and his four-legged partner were honored as Grand Marshals of the 2016 Jamestown Christmas Parade. The injury also led then-state Sen. Cathy Young to introduce “Mitchell’s Law,” which would have made it a felony to injure a K-9 officer in the line of duty.

K-9 Mitchell would later be awarded the Police Cross Medal and the Medal of Valor.

“The Jamestown Police Department is honored to have served side by side with such an outstanding K-9 partner,” JPD said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Kraft and his family. The legacy of K9 Mitchell will live on forever and he will never be forgotten.”

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