The moment itself came as a bit of a surprise, he said.
“When I first was at school, I got a dog. We came home, we tested him, and did what we had to do, but he didn’t work out,” Engdale said. “One of the deputies told me, ‘When you get out of orientation, you’ll have a dog’ … and when I came out, it was Kid.”
The 6-year-old Belgian Malinois was honored Friday with a memorial procession from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies. Kid died last Thursday from complications caused by a pre-existing medical condition, the sheriff’s office said.
While his partner and friend may be gone, Engdale said he won’t have any trouble keeping Kid’s memory alive.
“We worked, and we grew, and every day that went on, we grew closer together,” he said. “It’s amazing. The bond, and the love that you have for one another. And I don’t care if he felt bad one day, or if I felt bad one day, we always lifted one another up.”
In addition to the sheriff’s office, the procession featured city police and park police officers. The event included Sheriff Howard Buffett, who as a philanthropist has funded numerous dog purchases by local law enforcement, including Macon County.
Buffett shared a hug with Engdale after presenting him with Kid’s ashes. Many of the officer’s colleagues, friends and family followed suit and showered him with their love and support.
“I don’t care about this for me,” Engdale said. “I wanted these tributes and respect for him, because he was loved and will be missed by everybody in the community.”
Kid was trained to detect explosives, and Engdale said he was “amazing” to work with. Most days, the pair performed daily sweeps of the courthouse and law enforcement center. Other times, they were asked to work at other locations throughout Central Illinois, including Kid’s star turn at last year’s Razzle Dazzle Goodtimes Parade during the Decatur Celebration. He and Engdale walked ahead of the parade and checked for explosives.
At the end of the day, Kid would come home with Engdale and would play with him and his family until it was time for bed.
“He was there, and he was family,” Engdale said.
Corporal Lisa Friis, who oversees court security for the sheriff’s office, said it’s a common practice for the office to honor fallen K-9 deputies with memorial processions.
“They work with us every day, and their lives are in just as much danger as ours,” she said. “He deserves respect just like a fallen officer.”
As the procession left Graceland-Fairlawn Funeral Home and drove toward the courthouse, Friis said she was overwhelmed by how many people stood along the route and paid their respects. Kid was very well known due to his genial personality, she said. “Everybody loved him.”
The sheriff’s office has four other K-9 deputies. Three are single-purpose dogs that work with drug detection, and one is trained in both drug detection and suspect apprehension.
Until a replacement for Kid is assigned, the sheriff’s office will call the Secretary of State Police or University of Illinois at Champaign police for help with explosive detection.
However, no matter what K-9 steps in Kid’s place, Friis said the courthouse won’t be the same without his presence.
“We will miss Kid. It was hard to let him go that day. We’ll miss him,” she said.