Reno, NV - The Reno-Tahoe International Airport held a memorial service on Tuesday morning for an airport canine police officer who passed away last month because of a health issue.
Fritz was a 7-year-old German Shepherd who worked as a highly-trained canine explosive detection officer. Since he started at the airport in 2007, he worked to protect two U.S. Presidents and 3.5 million passengers per year.
His partner and human handler, Airport Police Officer Brandon Randall, says he spent more time with Fritz than his wife and kids combined. He got tearful when he told the story of when Fritz met President Clinton.
"We did a sweep for the secret service and we had a chance to meet him. And when he went over to pet Fritz, Fritz jumped up on his chest and licked him on the face - and secret service wasn't all too happy about that," says Officer Randall.
Fritz's memorial was held at the Airport Fire Station. It is a tradition to offer police canines a respectful memorial that is fitting for a police officer.
"The dog is a part of the family. He's a part of the team. He's an officer as far as we're concerned. We depend on him, he depends on us. And the public actually doesn't know how much he contributes to their safety," says Robert Vester, Chief of Police for the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Fritz was one of three police canines at the airport. Officer Brandon Randall will get a new canine partner by next month.