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posted: 9/11/2012 4:43 PM

Round Lake honoring late police dog, Highway, with ceremony, tree planting

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  • Highway

    Courtesy of village of Round Lake


Round Lake's police dog Highway will be remembered at the place where he worked from 2007 until his death last month.

Officials plan to gather at 6 p.m. Wednesday for a small memorial ceremony for Highway outside the Round Lake Police Department, 741 W. Townline Road. A tree will be planted in his honor, according to Village Clerk Joyce Swieton.

Highway, a sable-colored German shepherd, died of thyroid cancer Aug. 20. The 6-year-old, state-certified canine cop was known for his zeal in pursuing criminal suspects and searching for narcotics since joining the police department in 2007.

Last week, the Round Lake village board passed a resolution recognizing the dog. In part, the document states "the citizens of Round Lake express their warm appreciation and gratitude to police canine Highway for his six years of dedicated service."

"Highway gave uncompromising dedication to his handler of five years, Officer Michael Stevens," the resolution states.

Stevens and Highway were one of two K-9 teams working with the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System, a regional SWAT team, and had won awards for their achievements. Highway was purchased from TOPS Canine Complex in Grayslake. The facility, a longtime supplier of police dogs to departments, trains them for three months before they are partnered with a handler.

TOPS owner Alex Rothacker, who's trained dogs for more than 30 years, said Highway was one of the best to ever come through the facility.

Police officials said Highway went beyond tracking criminals and protecting officers and others. He was known for public demonstrations, opening the rear door of his patrol car with his nose, walking backward and running up to 40 mph.

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