Decorated Sulphur Springs police officer dies at age 10
Drug dog Timmie helped police find thousands of pounds of marijuana, seize $1.2 million from crooks
By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor
May 9, 2007 - One of Sulphur Springs Police Department's most successful and decorated officers died Saturday.
Timmie, the canine partner of Lt. Cleve "Buddy" Williams, had to be put down following a bout with pneumonia.
Williams said Timmie, 10, developed pneumonia and became ill overnight Friday and was rushed to the veterinarian. The veterinarian told Williams he could try to prolong Timmie's life, but the dog would likely suffer from sickness.
"I didn't want to put him through that suffering," Williams said. "I wanted to be selfish and keep him with me, but I had to do the more humane thing, what was best for him."
Timmie is a true German police dog, born in February 1997 in Germany and shipped to the United States, where Oscar Hall of Canines Unlimited "green trained" him at 12 months.
Williams obtained the Timmie when the dog was only 15 months old and continued training him, earning certification which the dog maintained through his retirement in March of 2005.
Over his career with SSPD and Williams, which began June 1, 1998, Timmie was instrumental in many drug and cash seizures and arrests for Sulphur Springs Police Department, as well as other area agencies such as Texas Department of Public Safety. Overall, the team of Timmie and Williams seized 4,500 pounds of marijuana, 212 pounds of cocaine, 8 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 pounds of black tar heroin and $1.2 million in U.S. currency.
"Even though he was an animal, Timmie was considered one of us, an officer," Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jim Bayuk said this morning. "He was Lt. Williams' partner on- and off-duty.
"These officers-handlers get real attached to these animals and devote countless hours to training," Bayuk added.
Timmie, like most drug dogs, cost about $4,500 in addition to the cost of continued training and care. He maintained dual certification through the United States Police Canine Association and the North American Police Canine Association.
He also won numerous awards at the contests during his eight years of service, always making the top five at the state trials and scoring well enough to qualify to go to the national competition annually, although the handler-canine team never was able to make the national meet.
Williams retired Timmie in 2005, opting to allow the then-8-year-old dog to spend the remainder of his life relaxing at home.
"He was part of the family," Williams said. "After he retired, he was more my wife's dog. She pretty much let him do what he wanted to do.
"This has really been hard on her," Williams added. "The times when I'd have to be away from home, he'd stay with her and guard her. He was a good security dog."
"He'll be sorely missed around here," Bayuk said, adding that, like former drug dogs Leo and Sony, Timmie will be honored with a monument donated by Pioneer Monuments. The marker will be placed in front of City Hall beside the police station in honor of Timmie's work and service to the department.