Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

A fallen warrior's legacy and those left behind

From the Editor

 

January 31, 2019

Bethany Helwig

For eight and a half years I worked in a prosecutor's office. Every day I went through police reports, reading what local officers have to deal with on a daily basis. A friend of mine is a K-9 officer with the Duluth Police Department. So when I heard the tragic news that K-9 Haas had been killed and Officer Haller injured, it hit close to home. It's become a far too common thing to hear about lethal violence in our country but it always seems far away. The pain and shock of it doesn't hit nearly as hard as it probably should. But that changes when it happens close to home.

Although I didn't know Officer Haller and K-9 Haas, I knew of them. I'd heard of some of their exploits on the force and saw them in action during the K-9 demonstrations at AMSOIL. They were local. They patrolled the city where I lived for a time. Hearing news of what happened was a shock.

Last Friday I attended the memorial for K-9 Haas at the DECC. Squad cars lined the road behind the facility. The parking lots were already crowded despite it still being an hour before the service began. Inside, I arrived just in time to see the ashes of Haas being ceremoniously carried in with an honor guard past rows of saluting officers. I've been to memorials before-and attended my grandfather's funeral only a few months ago-so I expected the quiet and heavy atmosphere. But to see a hundred uniformed men and women in resolute silence lining the halls was something else entirely.

Once we were allowed in, I walked around with my friend who is an officer's wife as she visited with officers she knew. I felt like an intruder as they talked amongst themselves, officers from different counties and departments all come together to honor Haas. You could feel the solidarity amongst the officers. They live and share a life that few truly understand. While the public is told of the dangers they face and the perils of the job, they're the ones who live it, the ones who choose to face the danger anyhow.

And the reality of that danger was firmly at the forefront of everyone's thoughts as the memorial for Haas began. The speeches by the chaplains and chief were moving, but none more so than that of Officer Haller and his wife. Haas was part of their family. He loved to play with their children and had a habit of going straight for their toy bins to snatch up dolls and what not. He was a furry whirlwind of energy and an extremely skilled canine.

But Haas was not just family. He was Officer Haller's partner. He was a warrior. In the end, his actions saved not only his partner's life but others' as well.

Although his watch has ended, his legacy will live on through the people he saved and the lives he touched.

Good boy, Haas. Good boy.

 

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