MIDWEST CITY — Bonzo, a Midwest City police dog, was known around the squad room as "the old man” with a lot of heart for his job. Bonzo was buried Monday afternoon in Precious Pets Cemetery in Spencer, alongside several of his canine comrades in law enforcement. The funeral service was well attended by Midwest City police members, along with canine officers and their handlers from Guthrie, Del City, Ponca City and Logan and Oklahoma counties. Bonzo died Friday surrounded by fellow officers, said Jerry Kennedy, supervisor of the police department's K-9 unit. The 12-year-old Belgium Malinois had hip and spinal problems, and at the advice of a veterinarian, a decision was made to end his suffering, Kennedy said. "He was a good officer, but he got where he couldn't work anymore,” Kennedy said. "That for him was probably worse than the pain.” Bonzo was born and trained in Holland and brought to the United States by a trainer in Muskogee, Kennedy said. His expertise was drug detection, but he had extensive tracking and patrol experience too, he said. Bonzo recently assisted Choctaw police in tracking a home invasion suspect through a mobile home park. He helped find the suspect in an abandoned car, Kennedy said. "He's helped us find a lot of drugs through the years, but he was more than a tool for law enforcement,” Kennedy said. "He was a partner to our officers.” In 1999, Midwest City purchased Bonzo from the Muskogee trainer. Cpl. Randy Neal was his handler for about eight years and Bonzo worked a short stint with officer Lacky Harkins, Kennedy said. Six months before his death, Bonzo was partnered with officer Jake Doles. "Everyone always knew when I was on the radio, because they'd hear him barking in the background,” Dole said. "He was an old man, but he loved the job.” The night before his death, Bonzo went out on one last patrol with Doles. Bonzo was one of two police dogs with the Midwest City Police Department. There are plans to recruit another dog, Kennedy said.
Midwest City police Cpl. Randy Neal demonstrates how Bonzo uses his sense of smell to search a vehicle in this 2004 photo. Bonzo died Friday. OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVE PHOTO by Paul Hellstern