WACO, Texas – The Waco Independent School District’s Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own.

The department announced the passing of K-9 Gero on social media Friday morning. Gero was born in Holland and began his training, where he served overseas. Gero was awarded the Veteran War Dog Recognition from the AMK9 Academy in Anniston, Alabama, for his heroic participation and personal dedication in direct support of combat operations in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, which was demobilized in 2015.

The Waco ISD Board of Trustees approved the implementation of the first K-9 program for the district in early 2015. After an approved application process through K9s4COPs, Waco ISD PD Lt. Jeff Freeman was selected to attend the AMK9 Academy in Anniston, Alabama, through a grant provided by K9s4COPs.

Lt. Freeman says once he saw K-9 Gero, he knew they would work well together. Lt. Freeman and Gero trained together at AMK9 Academy, and they were certified through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) in the fields of narcotics detection, article search, obedience, and tracking in May 2015.

Gero started the second part of his career with the Waco ISD Police Department in May 2015. The Cen-Tex Kennel Club’s donation made it possible for Gero to start working. Lt. Freeman and Gero worked many hours together in the field of narcotics detection, prevention, and education. They also conducted presentations for elementary schools in and out of the district.

Due to the onset of hip dysplasia, Gero retired in July 2019. He spent the remainder of his days at Lt. Freeman’s home.

Gero was the lieutenant’s protector on and off duty. He guarded the leiutenant’s family and his home. Gero enjoyed family vacations, playing with his toys, and the other family pets. He loved being scratched behind the ears and receiving back rubs.

Throughout Gero’s employment, he received support from many community partners.

Source: Waco Independent School District Police Department