FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Hundreds of people came together to honor a fallen member of the Fishers Police Department.
A memorial service was held inside Fishers High School Wednesday night for K-9 officer Harlej.
Harlej was shot and killed last week while chasing a suspect following a traffic stop.
Hundreds of K-9 officers from around the state and their handlers lined the street outside Fishers High School to honor Harlej.
“Harlej was loyal, devoted, driven, a protector, a friend and a shift partner, over his career Harlej had 560 deployments,” said Lt. Ryan Jones with FPD.
Harlej was a dogged member of the Fishers Police force.
For those who honored him, finding the words to say goodbye were difficult.
Harlej’s handler Jarred Koopman sat front row as his K-9 partner was awarded the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart.
“Keep your head high and your chin up. Know that Harlej represented well and officers were safe that night,” said Lt. Jones.
From the hundreds of faces in the crowd, to a familiar one, the pain from losing Harlej was clear.
“When your husband calls you at 3:30 in the morning and starts the conversation with, ‘I am OK, but Harlej is gone.’ A part of you crumbles,” said Koopman’s wife, Kim Koopman.
The price Harlej paid will never be forgotten.
He was not just a dog. But, an officer who showed no fear. Even up until the very moment he died.
“There was a brief moment where Harlej stopped to look at Jarred and almost to say ‘I’ve got this one dad’ and then just like always Harlej charged out front,” said Kyle McFerran with the Fishers Police Department.
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