EATON — Preble County Sheriff’s officials and fellow law enforcement officers from around the state said goodbye to one of their own in a special memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 29.
While still in active service, K9 Brit died Dec. 14, 2016, following complications from emergency surgery.
Brit, a full-blooded German Shepherd imported from Slovakia, was purchased by the Preble County Sheriff’s Office and the Preble County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in the spring of 2008.
Brit was trained with his partner and handler, Deputy Matthew Lunsford, for use in patrol tactics, protection, and narcotics detection. Along with training in these areas, Brit was also trained in tracking of lost and wanted persons and was also used extensively in article detection. Brit was certified through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and the North American Working Dog Association.
“Brit and Matt certainly made a difference, not only in this county, but surrounding counties,” Sheriff Mike Simpson said during the memorial.
Lunsford always told Brit to make friends, according to Simpson. “I think as we see here today, the support Matt and Brit have, I can say that Brit made friends. An awful lot of friends.”
During Brit’s career, he was deployed over 850 times, with over 500 apprehensions. During his service, Brit was responsible for the seizure of over $3 million in marijuana, $75,000 worth of methamphetamine, and $155,000 worth of heroin.
“While we’ve lost Brit in body he will always be with us, with Matt and his family, in spirit and in mind,” Simpson said. “Our hearts are heavy today. But each day it will get a little easier. It will never go away, but it get’s a little easier each and every day. And Matt, to you, I say job well done. You can be proud of the accomplishments that you and Brit achieved and I’m proud of you for the program that you built here. To Brit, we say so long for now, but it’s not goodbye. We will see you on the other side.”
According to the plaque dedicated in his honor, during his tenure with the PCSO, Brit assisted local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Brit and Deputy Lunsford belonged to the Southwest Regional Training Group and trained with the City of Eaton Police, Camden Police Department, West Alexandria Police Department, Butler County Sheriff’s Office, Darke County Sheriff’s Office, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson Center Police and Dayton Airport Police. Britt trained with numerous other police agencies throughout his life.
The plaque will hang in the Preble County Sheriff’s Office honoring Brit, next to former K9 Perry. A plaque was also given to Lunsford.
“He was a great partner to have … We had a good run,” Lunsford said. “We had a good time.”
Brit was not only a dedicated officer, he was also part of the Lunsford family.
“He was a good house dog. He loved my wife and boys,” Lunsford added.
“Brit was a great asset to the Preble County Sheriff’s Office, other law enforcement agencies, and the citizens of Preble County,” the plaque reads. “Brit’s drive to work, eagerness to please, and successful deployments will be a noticeable loss for the Preble County community and the law enforcement officers her worked beside.”
Lunsford was grateful for the support shown during the memorial for his late partner. “It was absolutely overwhelming,” he said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.