Massachusetts State Police

Mass. State Police K-9 Killed in the Line of Duty Was Decorated Veteran of the Force

Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police K-9 killed in the line of duty, state police said

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A Massachusetts State Police K-9 killed in the line of duty Tuesday was, along with his handler, a decorated veteran of the force, part of a team recognized for their bravery multiple times.

K-9 Frankie was shot and killed by a wanted man during a police standoff in Fitchburg, according to police. His handler, Sgt. David Stucenski, was unhurt.

Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police K-9 killed in the line of duty, state police said.

"Frankie had every trait we seek in a good law enforcement officer, canine or human: intelligence, immense courage, and dedication to protecting the public. He was as loyal a partner as any Trooper ever had," State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said Tuesday.

After the shooting Frankie was rushed to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, where he was pronounced dead. On the way, he received emergency treatment by Fitchburg EMS, the first animal to receive such care under Nero's Law, which was passed last year to make such care possible.

Frankie and Stucenski were a decorated pair. In 2017, they were awarded the Medal of Valor at the George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery, the state’s top law enforcement award ceremony, for their work capturing a hit-and-run suspect who opened fire at the pair in Springfield. Last month, Frankie, Stucenski and other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team were honored for catching an armed child pornography suspect in West Springfield in 2019. And in 2014, the pair won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for various law enforcement skills.

"When one of our K9s pass – until today, never in the line of duty – our K9 handlers have a saying. “Free Time.” It means that these brave dogs who work so hard to protect the rest of us have earned their eternal peace," Mason said.

Condolences began pouring in on social media Tuesday night when the news broke.

Frankie was taken to the Final Gift Pet Memorial Center in Cranston, Rhode Island, with full honors Tuesday night.

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