NewsPolk County


Memorial service held for Lake Wales K-9 officer killed in line of duty

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Posted at 8:38 PM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 20:38:09-04

LAKE WALES, Fla. — K-9 officer Max was not just a dog, he was a protector and defender. Tuesday the Lake Wales Police Department and the community came together to pay their respects to the fallen hero.

Law enforcement honors was given to the four-legged officer killed in the line of duty. Police officers remembering K-9 officer Max as a small dog with a big personality.

“Max who was by far the smallest dog in the school showed no challenge was too great or obstacle too difficult to defeat,” said Lt. Kenny Hill with Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Max joined the Lake Wales Police Department in 2015 as the eyes and ears of his handler officer Jared Joyner. During Max’s career he had 516 documented deployments, including drug searches, responding to alarm calls and locating missing children.

“Tracking bad guys, finding bad guys that’s also part of the job but there’s no price tag that you can put when you can put a baby back in a mother’s hands,” said Sgt. Dale Hampton with Lake Wales Police Department.

August 3 would be the end of watch for K-9 officer Max. The suspect in a domestic violence call, shot and killed Max who had apprehended him in the woods.

“We’ll always be grateful for K-9 Officer Max. For his service, for the smiles he brought, for being a part of the Lake Wales Police Department and for ultimately giving his life to protect his very best friend,” said Lake Wales Police Chief Chris Velasquez.

Police returned fire, killing the suspect. Officers paid tribute to the 7-year-old canine, saying his unconditional love and loyalty to officer Joyner was clear.

“There was something Max loved more than anything else in the world and that was his handler, Jared and going to work with him every day,” Velasquez said.

In response to the public outpouring of support, the Lake Wales Police Department said those who wish to make a donation may send a check payable to "City of Lake Wales" with "K-9 Unit Donation" in the memo line.

Mail or deliver to:
Lake Wales Police Department
133 East Tillman AvenueLake Wales, FL 33853