INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fishers Police Officer Jarred Koopman tried to put on his best face on Friday. When he looks over the cameras to his wife and children, his voice cracks
“I keep thinking about the times that I’m outside with my family and thinking about Harlej just chewing his on toys while the boys are playing around and my wife is outside. And I think Harlej said to himself, ‘They need you more than you need me.’ That is what hits home to me,” Koopman said.
A picture of Harlej is near the doorway of the Fishers police station, along with is a mural loaded with pictures, thoughtful cards and letters from school children from all over Hamilton County.
The K-9 officer spent his whole career with Fishers police. He was 5 years old when he was shot and killed last week while chasing a suspect following a traffic stop.
For the department, he was an officer, sworn in to do a job: get the bad guys and hold them until the human officers arrived. That role meant he came face-to-face with suspects, who were sometimes dangerous.
“In my head, I’m always prepared that that could be, but you are never ready to think that could happen. If I was close enough to see the suspect, I would not be here. Without Harlej going in there, it wouldn’t be like it is right now,” said Koopman
Right now Koopman’s wife is able to stand by his side and watch their two boys play in the police department conference room. Harlej was a cop, but when he was home, he was the family dog. Well-wishers have given the boys stuffed animals that resemble Harlej.
“If it is wasn’t for a well-trained K-9, there would be human lives that would have been lost that day,” said Koopman
Koopman said he has not decided whether he will take on another K-9 anytime soon.