The life of Omaha police dog Kobus may be summed up in the K-9 Prayer recited Thursday afternoon by Sgt. Aaron Hanson at the dog’s memorial service.

“I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing but love in return. … I am the nose and ears of the officers. … I would die for any and all officers. I only ask for your love and care,” said Hanson, a former member of the K-9 unit.

Kobus was given a hero’s farewell Thursday afternoon at Christ Community Church in a service attended by about 1,000 people, including Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and K-9 officers from a variety of law enforcement agencies. The animal was killed in the line of duty Saturday.

“Kobus was a hero. He did the job that you all trained him to do,” Stothert said. “He did his job to protect and serve. And he helped his fellow officers make it home.”

The 9-year-old Belgian Malinois was killed during a standoff near 83rd Street and Keystone Drive. Kobus was the first Omaha police dog killed since the unit was re-established in 1996. He was scheduled to retire in March.

The suspect in the standoff, Mark L’Heureux, 59, surrendered about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. He fired at Douglas County sheriff’s deputies late Friday and killed Kobus about 4 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.

Said Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, during his remarks: “Kobus not only died to protect law enforcement, but he died to save all lives there, and that includes the suspect.”

Officers from many different agencies, including the Blair Police Department, the Iowa State Patrol, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, attended.

Kobus lived at the home of his handler, Officer Matthew McKinney. The presentation included a montage of photos of Kobus’ life flashing on big screens: Kobus on the job, biting other officers in bite suits during training, and photos of Kobus around the home, with McKinney and his children. It ended with the phrase “Thank you, brave partner. Your job here is done,” to applause.

McKinney was among the speakers. In his brief remarks, he told of how eager Kobus was to perform his duties. The officer said Kobus could tell it was time to go to work when he heard the sound of the officer’s boots hitting the floor.

“Once in the cruiser, he was ready to work. Every day,” McKinney said.

Sgt. Greg Sampson, a member of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s emergency services unit, was at the scene of the standoff, which began after deputies attempted to serve a warrant ordering a psychiatric evaluation for L’Heureux. Sampson said police dogs are able to do a lot of things human officers can’t.

“They are great for home attics and crawl spaces,” he said after the service. “They are definitely a great tool.”

And in this case, Sampson and other members of his team appreciate Kobus’ sacrifice.

“It was important for us to be here, to show (Omaha officers) that we support them like they supported us that day.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1301, andrew.nelson@owh.com

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