FITCHBURG, MASS. (WHDH) - Flanked by an escort of cruisers, the body of State Police K9 Frankie arrived at an animal memorial center in Rhode Island Tuesday night, following his death during an armed standoff in Fitchburg, Mass.

Police saluted the K9 as a group of officers brought him into the Final Gift Pet Memorial Center, covered by an American flag. The police dog had been transported from the Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, Mass. after he was killed in the line of duty while trying to apprehend an armed suspect.

State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said in his statement Frankie is believed to be the first State Police K9 killed in the line of duty. The police dog officer would have turned 11 next month and had been with the department for nearly nine years.

“Frankie had every trait we seek in good law enforcement officers – canine or human,” Mason said during a press conference. “Intelligence, immense courage and dedication to protecting the public. He was as loyal a partner as any trooper ever had.”

The K9 was a highly decorated member of the police force, receiving the Medal of Valor in 2017 with Sgt. Stucenski, among other accolades.

Frankie was transported by Fitchburg EMS to an animal hospital on Tuesday, making it what Mason called “the first instance of such emergency care made possible by Nero’s Law,” which was recently signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker.

The law allows first responders in Massachusetts to treat and transport injured police dogs to veterinary hospitals, and was named after the K9 partner of slain Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon.

“When one of our K9s pass, our K9s have a saying – ‘free time,’” Mason said. “It means these brave dogs who work so hard to protect the rest of us have earned their eternal peace. Free time and godspeed, Frankie.”

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox