GARY — Armed with a keen nose, four fast legs and a set of finely tuned ears, one police dog has apprehended hundreds of criminals and located missing children in his four-year career of fighting crime.

However, K-9 Nero's watch has come to an end. Last week, officers said goodbye to Nero after he died from a medical condition while he was in surgery, according to the Gary Police Department.

Nero assisted in more than 250 criminal apprehensions, and he has located missing children and endangered adults, Gary Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.

The Dutch shepherd was a decorated police dog who worked hard alongside Gary officers. He was born April 11, 2013, and lived at Baden K9, a working dog training facility in Ontario, Canada, before coming to Gary.

He became part of the Gary police family when the Police Department purchased him in February 2015 after a successful fundraiser at Safe House Bar and Grill in Crown Point. Gary residents, people from surrounding cities and local businesses donated to the fundraiser for the department to buy a K-9.

The Common Council accepted Nero's entry into the Gary Police Department and he began patrolling the streets that same month.

Nero was a dual-purpose canine, which means he trained in narcotics and patrol. He protected his human partners, apprehended suspects, tracked suspects and was also a search dog, Hamady said.

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Nero has assisted just about every state, local and federal agency in the area.

He was trained to track five types of narcotics and was deployed more than 700 times. 

In his work searching for missing people, Nero found a healthy baby in a trunk of a vehicle, Hamady said. 

One of Nero's duties was assisting the U.S. Marshal's Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force, where he apprehended numerous violent and dangerous suspects from across state lines. His astute nose has recovered several pounds of narcotics and thousands of dollars.

“Obviously GPD has suffered a tremendous loss and a valuable K-9 officer of our department,” Hamady said. “Our handler is grief-stricken losing his partner and friend.”

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts, investigative news and more. She is a Region native and graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology.