On June 12th, 2018, headed by Deputy Chief Daniel Sollitti, the Jersey City Police Department held a first of its kind ceremony for one of their fallen K9’s.
The ceremony was held in front of the Jersey City Police Memorial located at the intersection of Marin Blvd/Montgomery St. The statue at that location honors all line of duty deaths that have occurred within the Jersey City Police Department since its inception in 1829.
Earlier this month, while on patrol, JCPD K9 Astro lost consciousness and was immediately rushed to an animal hospital. It was determined that the cause was an inoperable tumor that had ruptured his spleen. After spending some with his partner, JCPD PO George Crispina and family, later that same day he was put to sleep.
Tuesday’s ceremony was fitting and proper given the nature of the relationship that exists between a K9 and his/her handler. The attendees included JCPD Chief Kelly, members of both the JCPD and the JCPD K9 unit, members of K9 units from jurisdictions all over the state of NJ as well as members of Brothers Before Others.
In his partner’s honor, PO Crispina and his family were presented with several ceremonial gifts. Among those gifts was a Flag of the United States that had been flown over the World Trade Center site on 6/8/18, presented by BBO Board Member/PAPD PO Joshua Oliveri, on behalf of the Superintendent of the Port Authority Police, Edward T Cetnar.
PO Crispina was also presented with a portrait of his partner, done by Philadelphia Police Officer and forensic sketch artist, PO Jonny Castro. Since the first year anniversary of the assassination of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson III, Jonny has been completing line of duty death portraits for fallen law enforcement officers all over the world. To date, he has completed hundreds; which he ensures are delivered to the fallen’s family/co-workers. Jonny completes these portraits on his own time and pays for the required materials out of his own pocket.
As was stated at the ceremony, a K9 is an invaluable part of law enforcement. The incorruptible loyalty and unwavering bravery displayed by these dogs surpasses anything that can be found in a human. The bond between the K9 and his/her handler that results from that is unlike anything else in this line of work. As PO Crispina stated, “I lost more than a dog. I lost my friend and my partner”.
*For more information on Philadelphia Police Officer Jonny Castro, as well as a full catalog of his completed works, he can be found on both FB and Instagram by searching ‘Jonny Castro Art’.