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
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
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
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
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.