Muskogee, OK – Muskogee Police Department (MPD) K9 Oli died from an unknown cause on July 1 after participating in a training at the department’s range.
After the four-year-old Belgian Malinois completed a short tracking exercise, his partner, MPD Officer Taylor Hignite, placed him inside their air-conditioned patrol unit while he went to wrap up his training debriefing, KWTV reported.
When Officer Hignite returned to his vehicle to check on K9 Oli a few minutes later, he discovered that he was breathing, but unresponsive, according to the Muskogee Phoenix.
Officers immediately attempted to wake him up and made efforts to cool him down in case the medical emergency was heat-related.
K9 Oli was rushed to the Tulsa Emergency Animal Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators said they do not know K9 Oli’s exact cause of death.
Officer Hignite said that K9 Oli was both his partner and his best friend, KWTV reported.
The tracking and narcotics K9 was born in Poland and imported through Holland two years ago, according to the City of Muskogee website.
“Oli has hit the ground running and on his 3rd day of work located 2 suspects that had ran from officers in opposite directions,” the city marveled at the time. “He found one attempting to hide under a shed, and the other was hiding in the woods.”
Residents and first responders from across Oklahoma gathered at the MPD range on July 14 for K9 Oli’s memorial service, KWTV reported.
“I just asked for a simple service and all the officers here that came together for this went above and beyond,” Officer Hignite said. “It brought me to tears as I was escorting him through for his last ride with me…When I saw the American flag hung over Okmulgee right there in front of the Civic Center that the fire department had and all of the community.”
MPD asked the community to keep Officer Hignite in their prayers.
“Thank you for your service, Oli,” the department said in a Facebook post. “You will be missed by us all!”
Sad news from Muskogee Police. K9 Oli has died following a training exercise last night. Police say Oli and his handler had just completed a training track and he was found unresponsive after. Oli was only 4 years old and had been with the department since July 2018 @KTULNews pic.twitter.com/ErRRAj8ZEp
— Ethan Hutchins (@ehutchinsnews) July 2, 2020
There's a new officer on patrol in Muskogee. Meet K9 Oli, a 3-year old Belgian Malinois. Muskogee police say he's already helped apprehend two suspects. @KJRH2HD @MuskogeePD pic.twitter.com/ps3vKSsVXf
— Karen Larsen (@KarenLarsenKJRH) July 11, 2018
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Muskogee Police Department and Officer Hignite in the loss of K9 Oli.