Lt. D.G. Schoeppner is Tucker’s liaison to the DeKalb County Police Department and can be followed at facebook.com/dgschoeppner or emailed at email@example.com.Back in January, it was with a heavy heart that I wrote about the brutal murder of Officer Edgar Flores during a traffic stop just weeks before his 25th birthday. Another casualty on that day was K9 Officer Indi. He played a key role in locating and apprehending the suspect. During the encounter, Officer Indi was shot in the head before other officers returned fire and killed the suspect. Today, I’m happy to report that even the darkest cloud has a silver lining: Officer Indi has made a full recovery and returned to work.
Initially, things looked grim for Indi. Even though he had not sustained any brain damage, he lost the use of his right eye. And in spite of the gruesome nature of the injury, Indi began defying the odds right away. He was able to return home just two days after the incident. He then outdid himself again by attending the funeral of Officer Flores. This was a huge morale lift for a department that had just been punched in the mouth. It’s a little bit easier to get back into the saddle when you see one of your fellow officers, overcoming a terrible injury, do the same; even if that officer has four legs instead of two.
Indi had a promising start, but faced a long, hard road to recovery. He had to build up his strength and coordination, along with passing the certification tests set by the North American Police Working Dog Association. Indi overcame all of these obstacles with flying colors. Part of the recovery process was for Indi and his partner, Officer Norman Larson, to go to calls and shadow other K9 officers to become reacclimated. Larson said that he could tell that Indi wasn’t happy about being on the sidelines.
On March 13, there was a ceremony honoring Officer Indi and Officer Larson in front of the K9 memorial statue at police headquarters. Both officers received meritorious service medals. In addition, Indi received a purple heart for his injuries. When asked about Indi’s future, Officer Larson said, “He is only seven and full of energy. He’s going to retire on his terms.”
In a perfect world, everyone would have left that incident unscathed. However, we all know that the world in which we live is far from that. Sometimes when you face a situation where there are no winners, it is good to know that there are heroes out there who refuse to walk away a loser.