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July 20th, 2004
Pima County Sheriff's Office

Deputy Rodney Hamilton and K-9 "Rico" assisted on a search for a suspect that fled from deputies during a pursuit in the area of Green Valley, AZ. The suspect had bailed from a stolen motorcycle and fled on foot in the desert. After 4-5 minutes of searching, K-9 "Rico" gives a strong alert. Deputy Hamilton deploys his partner. Rico headed off into the brush. After a minute or so the deputies hear a loud thump near the freeway. A passing vehicle struck Rico. It appeared that the suspect had doubled back and crossed the freeway with Rico not far behind him. Rico passed away at the scene.

This picture of Rico was taken about a week before his passing.  These are pictures of the front and back of a card that was created by a civilian and sent to Deputy Rodney Hamilton, Rico's handler. Rico will be greatly missed by Deputy Hamilton, his family, and the Pima County Sheriff's Office.

The poem from the card has been re-written to the right of the pictures

I am a deputy in a canine crew.
I have been trained to see it through.
When danger is near my ears perk up.
They taught me that when I was a pup.
I am often there
to protect your rights,
My presence sometimes hinders fights.
I never attach with thought to kill,
When subduing one, my job I fulfill.
I never worry a single thought,
As to how I will fare at a certain spot.
The love I have for a handler's care,
Is all I need, each day to fare.
And if some day my luck turns bad,
I will relish the joys I have ever had.
To be with men who stand for good,
In a special kind of "brotherhood."
The story's end by now you know,
Of how I tried for a better show.
When I was called and I gave my all.


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