Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Dedicate K-9 Memorial

Indian River County Sheriff's Office K-9 dedication memorial.
Indian River County Sheriff's Office K-9 dedication memorial.

VERO BEACH – More than 100 people attended the unveiling of the K-9 memorial at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday. The K-9 program started in Indian River County in 1990.

The memorial ceremony included current and retired handlers. The names of the K-9s that are currently working, passed or retired are all listed at the memorial.

Sheriff Deryl Loar and Sgt. Christian Mathisen spoke at the dedication that ultimately unveiled a bronze sculpture of a K-9 by artist Lena Toritch, an artist from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Left to Right: LT. Kent Campbell (former K9 sgt.), Retired Deputy Toby Teague (former K9 handler) Sheriff Deryl Loar, Major Eric Flowers.
Left to Right: LT. Kent Campbell (former K9 sgt.), Retired Deputy Toby Teague (former K9 handler) Sheriff Deryl Loar, Major Eric Flowers.

To fund the project, Sheriff Loar used money from drug dealers and forfeited assets after finding a clause with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We got together with a small budget and decided on how we would do this,” Sheriff Loar stated.

Contractors who found out about the project soon came forward and donated their time. The money was used to buy all the materials to complete the memorial.

“Having this K-9 memorial dedicated to all the active, retired, and past K-9’s is more meaningful to us than you’ll probably ever imagine. We greatly appreciate it,” Sgt. Christian Mathisen, who is currently in charge of the K-9 unit at the Sheriff’s Office, said in a statement.

Active K-9 with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.
Active K-9 with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

“I cannot imagine what it’s going to look like in 5 or 10 years, absolutely beautiful. This thing will be here for the rest of all of our lives,” Sheriff Loar said.

The K-9 memorial is worth visiting if you’re ever on the way to Vero Beach from Sebastian. It is located at 4055 41st Ave. Just take U.S. Highway 1 to 41st Avenue, go west until you see the Sheriff’s Office on the left. The memorial is in the center of the parking lot; you can’t miss it.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland. When he was age 9, his parents moved to Jupiter, Florida. Andy spent several years at various radio & television stations in Florida such as WLIZ, WFLX-FOX 29, WIRK, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and WJNO to name a few. In 1994, Andy made a career change to computer programming and worked for several technology companies (two are Fortune 500) in Atlanta, Georgia. However, Andy returned to Florida and settled in the small town of Sebastian in 2002. In 2005, he returned to the broadcasting news sector and eventually joined our news team in 2016 as editor in chief. Andy's family has lived in Sebastian for more than 45 years.