Kane County officials are paying tribute to K-9 Erin, a beloved bloodhound who gave 10 years of her life in service to others as a member of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.
“We mourn the loss of K-9 Erin who under the guidance of her handler Sgt. Nick Wolf, served the county and its residents with honor and distinction,” said Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog. “We will always be indebted to her for the profound impact she made serving our communities.”
Thirteen-year-old Erin was certified in trailing and tracking individuals and worked with Sgt. Nick Wolf from the time she was 3 years old. Wolf, a K-9 handler since 2002 and the lead K-9 trainer with KCSO, said there was no single incident that stood out in his memory as especially heroic, because there were so many.
Whether it was finding a lost child outside during a cold night or tracking down a criminal who was hiding underneath a porch, K-9 Erin saved lives and impacted residents throughout Kane County and beyond.
“There have been countless examples over the years, and many of the incidents didn’t make the press as we were always very sensitive to everyone involved,” Wolf said. “She was there at the absolute peak of a crisis — such as when we prevented suicides — and helped give families closure when we recovered the bodies of missing loved ones. Without the dog, those people would have never been found.”
Erin was the fifth K-9 that Wolf had worked with during his 20-year career with the county. He said the long hours of training and 24-7 commitment is well worth it when you look at the important role K-9s play.
“Many of the smaller towns and villages don’t have a K-9 program within their police departments because it takes a lot of support, so we also help to support them, as well,” he said.
Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said the loss of K-9 Erin and others before her leave a void within the Sheriff’s Office, but he is proud of the training program the Sheriff’s Office has built throughout the years and looks forward to continuing to strengthen that tradition.
“As a former Sheriff’s K-9 handler, the bond between a dog and their owner is one-of-a-kind,” he said. “The work that goes into developing a service dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a deputy can have.
“The accomplishments of the internationally recognized dog trainer that is Sgt. Nick Wolf and his incredible partner Erin will never be forgotten.”
SOURCE: Kane County Board news release