I am Officer John Jorgensen and I have been a police officer for the City of Roseville for 13 ½ years. The last 8 years I have been assigned to the K9 Unit with my partner, “Major”. Major is a 9 ½ year old GSD. Major and I completed Basic K9 School in June 2003. Major is a dual purpose dog, trained in patrol work and narcotics. We are here today for the sentencing of the defendant, who has admitted to viciously stabbing Major 4 times with a butterfly knife in the early morning hours of November 12th, 2010. As a result of this willful attack, Major suffered career ending injuries. The defendant has admitted that he was the one that consciously stabbed my dog, but has also suggested that he thought Major was a “junk yard dog” and he was just defending himself. The Roseville Police Department refuses to accept the defendants claim that he did not know that Major was a police dog. This crime has left a devastating void in our K9 Unit and had a substantial impact on my family. As you can see by the number of people behind me, the law enforcement community views the defendants’ actions as an attack on us. Our LE family and friends accept our four legged partners as an integral part of the thin blue line. The thin blue line is ALL that separates the law abiding citizens from those who chose lawlessness and anarchy as a way of life. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, committed to service of others, always with accountability and professionalism. At approximately 5:00 AM on November 12th, K9 Major and I responded to assist Maplewood PD with a crime in progress. The defendant told Investigators that he thought he could hide from the dog. After K9 Major located and apprehended the defendant, the defendant said he tried to shake the dog off but could not. The defendant continued by saying he then took out his butterfly knife and stabbed K9 Major until he let go. The defendant ran and chose to try and elude police again only to be apprehended by a SPPD K9 team and a group of cover officers. These officers rushed to our call for help after hearing that a police dog had been stabbed and possibly killed. These officers acted with the utmost professionalism while taking the defendant into custody. Several hours later, another SPPD K9 team located the butterfly knife that was used in the attack on Major while conducting an evidence search. Locating the defendant and the weapon he armed himself with were crucial in piecing this case together. These two successful deployments show the value of these amazing police service dogs. Because of their selflessness and devotion, we view police service dogs as “officers” in our eyes. By no means do I believe that a dog’s life should be valued more than a humans’, but while preparing my Vitim Statement, I couldn’t help but think how much more of a POSITIVE impact “Major” has had on society than the defendant. Major has gladly devoted the vast majority of his life to helping others and bringing criminals to justice. He has located large amounts of narcotics, recovered discarded guns that were cast away by suspects following violent crimes and apprehended many felons that may not otherwise have been located and thus, held accountable for their actions. The defendant has purposely chosen a life of crime and drug abuse; using the latter, as a crutch or excuse, choosing to victimize rather than to help, selfish over selfless. The defendant will most likely outlive K9 Major, but I wonder if his life will come close to being more meaningful. Major has left his mark in our agency as a highly dependable and faithful partner, someone that my partners and I could always count on. Major’s loyalty to me and my partners is still strong – he barks, sometimes for hours, when I leave for work without him. Major has impacted many people – many who he and I never met. This became more obvious in the weeks and months following the attack on Major. Hundreds of people donated thousands of dollars to help cover his medical costs and rehabilitation efforts. Donations poured in from literally around the world in honor of his service and sacrifice. People who wanted to help our agency, and an amazing dog that gave so much. These weren’t just “dog lovers”, rather they were people who understood what Major’s devotion to service meant. The defendant, and all of us for that matter, can learn a lot from PSD’s. They are known for their intelligence and strong sense of duty. Police dogs are driven and have a willingness to learn, making them naturals for police work. Police dogs serve with loyalty and devotion. Selfless over selfish every time. My family is thankful that K9 Major is still with us and we plan on making the most of his retirement that he has greatly earned. Roseville Police Department has honored Major for his service with unwavering support for a colleague injured in the line of duty. Major’s legacy will live on. And I have been reminded by many that we should find the positive that has come from this. The penalties the defendant will incur are disproportionate to the damage he has caused. He has robbed Roseville Police Department of its longest serving and most experienced K9. Last week I testified in front of members of our Legislature and told them that Major was killed as a police service dog last November 12th. He is alive today, but he will never work as a police dog again – and Roel Perez is the sole person responsible for that. The devoted K9 handlers of this State have proposed legislation that is currently on the floor of both the House and the Senate that will increase penalties for assaults against our K9 partners and make restitution mandatory for offenders. The assault and injuries to K9 Major have also raised awareness to the dangers of police K9 work and the immediate threats posed to these dogs as they are deployed daily. I have also come to appreciate the work that Veterinarians and Vet tech’s do day in and day out at the U of M. The amazing staff at the University of Minnesota Vet Center saved my partner, and for that I am forever grateful. Their staff has performed difficult surgeries, nursed Major back to health and tirelessly fought to help him try and walk again. Their devotion, compassion and tenacity are matched only by the animals they work with. And finally, it has helped me remember the love I have for my family, friends and brothers and sisters and blue. I love being a police officer and cherish the bond that we share. Being a K9 handler for the last 8 years has given me an experience that only dog handlers can know and appreciate. Many say that K9’s do not have the ability to reason or make decisions on their own; I say you never saw Major when I was getting ready for work and putting on my uniform. He loved doing his job, and he became very good at it - and the defendant stole that from him. The defendant took Major’s ability to use his hind legs, but he will never take away his spirit or what he represents. Thank you.
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