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Pasco County sheriff's staff mourn loss of canine partner

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The Pasco County Sheriff's Office (PCSO) staff are mourning the loss of one of their law enforcement canine partners. "Copper", a nine-year-old Bloodhound assigned to the PCSO Canine Unit, passed away yesterday, after eight years of law enforcement service.

Donated to the sheriff's office by the Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction, Copper served the citizens of Pasco County with his forte' in sniffing-out missing persons, illegal substances, and bad guys who elected to flee/hide from law enforcement authorities.

The Jimmy Ryce Center for Victims of Predatory Abduction organization stemmed from the surviving father of a nine-year-old boy, Jimmy Ryce, who was abducted, sexually assaulted, and killed by a sexual predator in September 1995.

Also noteworthy is how well Copper interacted with children. Students at Pasco County-area schools were graced with his presence on occasion. Given that Copper's special trait is to utilize his phenomenal sense of smell so as to "track" missing children, it made for an indelible legacy to form bonds with all children.

According to the Jimmy Ryce Center website, Bloodhounds have a 60-time greater scent-sniffing ability than German Shepherds. Although no Bloodhound was used in the search for his abducted son in 1995, Jim Ryce feels a Bloodhound would have potentially located his son before being murdered. Hence, Ryce commenced the Jimmy Ryce Center and donated Copper to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office eight years ago for just such a purpose, among other investigatory traits and highly-specialized skills.

As a certified law enforcement officer under state statute, Copper will be accorded a full police funeral akin to those provided for human counterparts.

Suffice it to say, a valuable PCSO member passed away. Rest assured, Copper's legacy will remain eternal in the many lives he has impacted, in both law enforcement partners and the citizenry.

The National Law Enforcement Animals Memorial (NLEAM) is still in the process of coming to fruition in Washington, D.C. When completed, Pasco County sheriff's authorities will undoubtedly witness the name "Copper" among the roles recorded at the NLEAM.

On this day and for several days thereafter, all Pasco County Sheriff's Office members will adorn the black mourning band across their badges...in honor of a fallen canine partner.

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