The Saddest Day
Saying goodbye to a great partner and a great friend
For the past seven years, Constable Howard Rutter has worked with a very loyal partner, Police Service Dog (Badge #9755) Nitro.
A bond existed between the two partners built on mutual trust and
respect, and the knowledge that they would always look out for one
another. It was a bond so strong and lasting that only death could
break it. “He was not only my partner, he was my best friend,” Cst.
Rutter points out.
Sadly, on the night of January 23, 2006, Nitro died in the line of duty, doing what he always did best, catching the bad guy.
If the bond between Cst. Rutter and Nitro was no ordinary bond
because Nitro was no ordinary dog. Born in Monroe, Washington in 1997,
this purebred German Shepherd came to the department as a puppy without
a name. His handlers decided to appeal to the children of Vancouver to
help them name this newest member of the department. It was the first
time the public was asked to participate and the response was immediate
and impressive. More than 2,000 children sent in suggested names. Soon
PSD 9755 would be known as Nitro.
While police dogs are normally trained to bring down a suspect by
clamping on his arm, Nitro, being tenacious and unwilling to let a
suspect escape, would sometimes take the target closest to him... an
ankle. It was a technique that was very effective, as hundreds of
criminals over his career could testify.
There were also plans recently to make Nitro better known among the
public. He and his partner have been featured in advertising posters
designed to combat car theft in a campaign sponsored by the Insurance
Corporation of B.C. It is a fitting, if unplanned, tribute to a
valuable member of the VPD.
Nitro became a full-fledged police dog in 1999 and began a career
distinguished by his hard work and bravery. Throughout his career he
would also be the constant companion of his only partner, Constable
“We spent all shift with each other and when I went home he came
with me. When I went to the store he came with me, I mean we did
absolutely everything together…to say I’m going to miss him doesn’t
begin to describe my feelings.”
Together they were a hard team to beat. Many calls over