CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Police Department is mourning the death of one of its narcotics dogs who died after being left in a hot vehicle.
Sources say Specialist Brian Trotta's 6-year-old son has a life-threatening illness and needed emergency treatment Thursday. Trotta responded to that medical emergency, and inadvertently left his canine Juno unattended in the vehicle.
"By the time things calmed down enough," says Assistant Police Chief Vince Demasi, "he realized that the dog had expired in the car."
The city has been under a heat emergency for most of the week with temperatures soaring into the upper 90s.
Juno was the first female German shepherd added to the department in July 2009. "Canine handlers and their partners are very, very close. As close as a member of the family, and Brian's family as well is suffering through this," says Asst. Chief Demasi.
Trotta is a 13-year veteran of the department and has been assigned to the canine unit since April 2009. He survived a gunshot wound on-duty a few years ago.
Asst. Chief Demasi says of Trotta, "he's a cop's cop, he's highly decorated, probably one of the finest officers we have here in this department. And it's a tremendous tragedy for him and his family right now."
Trotta has been placed on administrative leave.
The incident remains under investigation.