PANAMA — Authorities are searching for the killer of a police dog as the community prepares for a memorial service to honor the German shepherd, Sgt. Andrew Bevil said Monday.
Creed, Bevil’s 2-year-old canine partner, was killed Aug. 5 while protecting Bevil’s home while the officer was at church with his wife and two children, ages 8 and 3.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Panama First Baptist Church.
“He was the ninth-man in our police department,” Bevil said. “My children are heartbroken. He was a part of the (police) department but he was also a part of my family.”
Creed joined the Panama Police Department in August 2011 and took part in drug searches at traffic stops and in the Panama and Wister schools in Le Flore County. He also aided police in tracking and apprehending suspects.
“There is no doubt he was targeted because of the drug searches,” Bevil said. “We had done several searches on vehicles before the shooting.”
Bevil said he found the dog dead from a gunshot wound to his head about 8:30 p.m. after the family returned home from church.
Ten-Four Ministries, a nonprofit organization that supports law enforcement departments, has collaborated with CherryBerry, a Fort Smith, Ark., business to offer a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the shooter, Ten-Four Ministries spokesman Travis Yates said.
Ten-Four Ministries also has established a fund to provide the Panama Police Department with a new police dog and training.