FISHERS, Ind. – Hundreds came to pay their respects to K-9 Officer Harlej on Wednesday night. Harlej was shot and killed while tracking two suspects involved in a car chase.
The gymnasium was packed with law enforcement agencies from across the state. K-9 Harlej’s handler, Jarred Koopman, did not speak at the service but his wife, Kim, did. She moved people with a reading of the account of the night Harlej was killed.
“You wait for both of them to come home together,” Koopman said. “So, when your husband calls you at 3:30 in the morning and starts the conversation with, “I am okay but Harlej is gone,” a part of you crumbles. The loss feels unbearable.”
Harlej selflessly served his community until his dying day on November 13.
“Harlej,there are no words one can say for how one little pup could impact so many people,” Koopman said through her tears. “For the countless lives that you saved today, and for the loyalty and love you shared with your guy and us your family. It has changed us.”
Harlej, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, was killed while tracking suspects last week during a traffic stop. Officer Jarred Koopman had served as his handler since he joined the department in 2015.
A public memorial service was held in the Main Gym at Fishers High School — 13000 Promise Road.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a procession took place to George Kehl Police Station (4 Municipal Drive, Fishers).
K9 officers and their handlers stand at attention to pay their final respects to Officer Harlej. pic.twitter.com/BxMhe6TqG6
— Courtney Crown (@CrownJournalist) November 21, 2019