More than 100 officers and civilians were honored by the Houston Police Department Tuesday for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“They showed bravery, they showed compassion, and they showed excellence,” said interim police chief Martha Montalvo.
Senior Officer Eric Newman, and K-9 Bear, were among those recognized for their outstanding work back on Jan. 25. That’s when the pair tracked down a man who vanished in Kingwood after threatening to take his life.
“We were dispatched to a ‘suicide in progress’ call. We had no idea where he had gone, how long he’d been gone. All we had was his car in the parking lot,” Newman recalled.
Newman says Bear took the scent of the man off his car and went for it.
“Bear tracked from the driver’s side of the vehicle, across a major road, to one of the Kingwood greenbelts,” Newman said.
That’s when Newman said Bear’s track got tricky. Joggers, other animals and traffic had all disturbed the scent, but he says Bear maintained focus and found the missing man.
Newman says the man was incoherent after trying to take his life with sleeping pills and alcohol, and had even tried to camouflage himself with palm fronds. They believe without Bear’s hard work, the man would have died.
Newman says this kind of work is just what Bear and so many other police K-9s have become known for.
“He has physically saved my life several times, and saved the lives of several officers, and now saved the lives of one of our citizens," Newman said.
Bear retired about a month after that January rescue, and Newman says Bear is very much enjoying his retired life, lounging on the couch -- a spot Newman says he’s earned.