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Photos: Fallen K9 Deputy Niki Remembered

Boyle County Sheriff’s Office Captain Casey McCoy said he experienced his worst nightmare on New Year’s Eve day. He lost his partner, best friend and a family member when K9 officer Niki was killed in a two-vehicle crash while they were on duty as McCoy turned onto Commerce Street from the bypass.

“Our sweet Niki … ” McCoy said to a crowd of about 500 who attended a memorial service at Southland Christian Church Monday evening. There is no stronger bond than one between a K9 officer and its handler, he said. “She knew my favorite songs and all of my secrets.”

When they were on duty, Niki was his strongest partner. But when they were home, Niki was a lovable pet and belonged to his 8-year-old son, McCoy said.

The memorial service was as somber and moving as a service could be for a human fallen officer. Hymns played, a slideshow of photos of Niki at home and at work was displayed on several large screens, and a small casket draped with the American Flag was on the stage.

Recordings of “Feed Jake” and “My Best Friend” were played between scripture readings, remarks from county officials and the eulogy.

Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt said Niki was “absolutely, unequivocally, undeniably, a true asset to law enforcement. … Her dedication made our county a better place to be because of her skills she honed” in detecting illegal narcotics. “We lost a true local hero, a local treasure.”

Boyle County Attorney Chris Herron said during the past six years as a sheriff K9, Niki was instrumental in taking millions of dollars of drugs off the streets. “Even criminals know Niki on a first-name basis,” he said, which instigated a few chuckles in the room.

Sheriff Derek Robbins said McCoy and Niki “Had the drive and was the best team I’ve ever seen.” They, like other K9s and handlers, had created a bond that was “indescribable.”

At the end of the service, Eric Garner from the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, the final radio call was given, and the Northpoint Training Center Color Guard folded the flag from the casket and presented it to McCoy and his family.

Outside, under a large American Flag hung from a Boyle County fire truck ladder, several K9 officers and their handlers from areas of the state formed two lines and saluted as four members of the sheriff’s office carried the casket out to the sheriff’s vehicle while the bagpipe continued playing.

At the end of reading a letter McCoy had written, saying an emotional public goodbye to his Niki, McCoy said, “Rest in peace baby girl. We’ll take it from here.”

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