Taunton Police mourn the loss of heroic K9 unit

By: Dee DeQuattro
Email: ddequattro@abc6.com
Twitter: @deedequattro

Taunton Police are mourning the loss of a retired K9 unit, Renko, who they describe as a hero.

Renko, a German Sheppard, is credited with saving his handler when an armed suspect threatened the officer with a weapon. In 2012, shortly before his retirement, Renko and his handler Patrolman Robert Swartz were pursuing an armed suspect. The suspect ran around a building. Swartz and Renko pursued him. Before Swartz was able to see the suspect, Renko pulled him hard to the left and went after the suspect.

At that point, the officer saw the suspect to be armed and pointing a weapon at him. To this day he credits the dog for saving his life.

Renko was born in Nov. of 2003 and hired by the department in 2005. He served for 7 years before his retirement.

He died on Tuesday morning at the age of 10 1/2. He finished out his life living at the home of his handler Swartz.

Renko was trained in drug detection, handler protection, building searches, and evidence searched. He was also known to perform in public demonstrations.

“A true guardian of the night he was never one to complain, always eager to go to work and always willing to place himself in harms way to protect the citizens, his handler and the officers of the department. May he RIP,” said Patrolman Swartz in a statement.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014