Fritzie, a German Shepherd who achieved a distinguished 7-year law enforcement career as a K9 Unit for the Jackson Police Department, has died at the age of 13.5 years. Teaming with Officer Stephen Sprague, Fritzie was credited with helping to accomplish numerous drug-related arrests and criminal apprehensions. (Photo Courtesy of Jackson Police Department)

Fritzie, a German Shepherd who achieved a distinguished 7-year law enforcement career as a K9 Unit for the Jackson Police Department, has died at the age of 13.5 years. Teaming with Officer Stephen Sprague, Fritzie was credited with helping to accomplish numerous drug-related arrests and criminal apprehensions. (Photo Courtesy of Jackson Police Department)

The Jackson Police Department is mourning the loss of a retired police dog who used her sharp and skilled nose to carve out a long and distinguished career in local law enforcement.

The Jackson Police Department and KP Officer Stephen (Steve) Sprague announced Monday, January, 26, the death of retired K9 Unit Fritzie at the age of 13.5 years. A female brown and black German Shepherd, Fritzie was born in July 2001 and was 4 years old when she started her police service at the Jackson Police Department. Fritzie was purchased by the Jackson County Major Crimes Task Force from drug seizure money.

Fritzie and her lone handler, Patrolman Sprague, trained and worked as a team and were certified in tracking, article search, detection of narcotics, obedience, area and building search, and criminal apprehension.
"K9 Unit Fritzie and Officer Sprague have made numerous drug arrests and criminal apprehensions," according to a statement placed on the police department's Facebook page. "They had also been instrumental in providing assistance to the Ohio State Highway Patrol and other neighboring law enforcement jurisdictions.

"A K9 handler is required to take care of his dog 24/7," the police statement continued. "The K9 generally lives with the officer and his family, as was the case with Fritzie. Once Fritzie retired, she continued to live with Officer Sprague, his wife Tabetha, and daughter Sabrina. Our condolences to Officer Sprague and his family."

Following Fritzie's retirement in 2011, Sprague took charge of a new K9 unit, a German Shepherd named Zee. Patrolman Bobby Grimes also works with a K9 unit named Harley.