Monroe County police dog passes away while on-duty

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MONROE COUNTY, IL (KTVI) - Members of the Monroe County Sheriff Department in Illinois are mourning the loss of a 10-year veteran.

“She means a lot, my heart's broken today,” said Lt. James Lansing, whose K-9 partner, Sari, died earlier this week after a tumor on her liver ruptured.

Sari, a 12-year-old German shepherd, was Lansing’s partner for 10 years. She died in her favorite place: the backseat of Lansing's patrol car.

“Everybody in Monroe County knew Sari,” Lansing said.

Four-year-old Ella Black's family found out how important Sari could be, especially her tracking skills. Last October, Ella wandered into a soybean field. Her mother became frantic, Sari was brought in, and the police dog found Ella safe and sound.

“My best friend is the police puppy,” Ella said.

She carries Sari's picture wherever she goes.

“It's really sad that something so important to you is now gone,” said Missy Black, Ella’s mother.

Through the years Sari has won numerous awards. And she's worked hard. She was capable of sniffing out seven different narcotics. Sari's biggest bust was 65 pounds of marijuana.

“She has made several arrests helped send some bad people to jail,” Lansing said.

She's been a fantastic representative in the community, making more than 100 life time appearances to children and adults, many times demonstrating her skills.

“I have two daughters, she was like a third daughter; she was a family pet,” Lansing said.

“She was my partner and best friend. She would give her life for me and that means a lot and I'll never forget her.”

Funeral services for Sari will be August 1. She will be laid to rest in a special police dog cemetery in the metro east.