WEST HARTFORD — The West Hartford Police Department regrettably announces the passing of retired police K9 Jett. Jett began working along with Officer Tommy Lazure in 2011. The team was respected in the K9 community and was well known in this state. Off. Lazure and Jett have experienced some very unusual and interesting police stories throughout their career including a highlight in 2010 when Lazure assisted in the roadside delivery of a baby girl in West Hartford. He and the family are still friendly and visit regularly.
In May 2019, K9 Jett was diagnosed with lymphoma and was forced into retirement. On August 11, the Lazure family made the difficult decision to put Jett to sleep. West Hartford Police and Fire Department members, both on and off duty, gathered at Veterinary Specialists in West Hartford on North Main Street to give a final salute to K9 Jett and show their support to the Lazure Family. Shortly before 10 p.m., Jett was euthanized with his human partner of eight years by his side.
The bond between a police officer and their K9 partner is very special and some say goes beyond that of a normal pet. Jett will be missed by his partner Tom, the police department and the West Hartford community. We thank them for their dedicated service.
K9 Jett was born in the Czech Republic in 2010. He was imported and trained by RenBar Kennels graduating as a certified police work dog with the North American Police Work Dog Association. He was less than two-years-old when he began working.
This K9 team has been involved in many apprehensions and seizures, including the successful apprehension of burglars, car thieves, and other criminals, along with copious amounts of drugs. They are credited with locating a suicidal 16-year-old who had overdosed and would not have lived without the team’s efforts.
In 2012 Sergeant Lazure and Jett were awarded the prestigious Daniel Wasson Memorial Canine Award. Presented by the CT Police Chiefs Association & The CT Police Work Dog Association, the award is given to the top canine team in Connecticut. Daniel Wasson was a Milford police K9 handler who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1987. Two WHPD K9s have also previously been given this award, K9 Luke in 2002 and K9 Kora in 2005.
In 2012, Lazure was dispatched to a call of a choking dog. The ten-year-old Shih-Tzu was choking on a treat. Trained in basic K9 first aid, Tom used a modified Heimlich Maneuver, pressing into the canine’s rib cage to loosen the foreign object. The dog, Harry, was soon breathing again and Tom was honored by PETA with their Compassionate Action Award. This story received much media attention including a story in Time Magazine and the case brought Tom, and WHPD into the national spotlight.
In 2014 they again received the Daniel Wasson Award for their exceptional work, including the track and apprehension of a dangerous, armed felon.
The team was also selected as one of the six Hero K-9s from the New England area by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and its Foundation in 2014. They took 1st place as the K9 Hero for all of New England as the “people’s choice” award. Tom and Jett were honored with this award at a Boston Red Sox pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park.
Jett has been featured in several books including “K-9 Commando,” and has been the highlight at many school K9 demonstrations, scout meetings, Citizen’s Police Academies, birthday parties for local children and was featured in the CT Wolfpack K-9 Heroes calendar.
Jett was retired in 2018 when Lazure was promoted to Sergeant, but was brought back in 2019 to assist when the other WHPD K9 team was out of action.
In 2018 the K9 team was invited to appear on the “Ben and Pickler” television show during a taping of a segment titled “Law Enforcement Heroes.” The YouTube clip of this segment has over 1.9 million views.
They received the “Stubby Award” in 2019 from the Governors Foot Guard. Sergeant Stubby was a decorated war dog who served in World War I. Jett is the second West Hartford K9 to receive this award; WHPD K9 Kora received this award posthumously in 2012.