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Another Hero Falls. Police Dog Killed in the Line of Duty

Gazza and Josh at work
Gazza and Josh at work
Gazza the New Zealand police dog, shown with handler Josh Robertson, was shot dead during an armed confrontation in Wellington. Photograph: New Zealand police

It’s so sad to see another police dog has fallen in the line of duty, this time in my home country of New Zealand.

These dogs are truly heroes and do so much to protect their handlers, other members of the force and the general public. Whatever country you live in, we owe these dogs a debt of gratitude and once again I’ve shed a few tears over this death of a working dog.

The incident took place in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, where an armed confrontation ensued last week. Despite negotiations with the armed defenders squad, Gazza the police dog was shot and killed, whilst an officer had to jump to safety out of a second floor window.

Gazza with handler Josh Robertson
Josh Robertson with Gazza the German Shepherd. Photograph: Greenstone TV/Facebook/Dog Squad NZ

Gazza was a German shepherd dog, who had been working since 2013 with his handler Constable Josh Robertson. He had a lucky escape back in 2014, when another offender tried to choke him after the dog had tracked him for 3.5 kilometers. It will be a very sad time for Josh, and my thoughts go out to him. The bond between a working dog and their handler is a very special one.

As with many working dogs, they are also popular with the public during educational visits to schools and open days. Gazza was popular with many during these events.


To quote the Wellington police district commander, Superintendent Sam Hoyle said:

“It’s with great sadness that I can advise one of our police dogs was shot and killed today in the line of duty while executing a routine search warrant in Porirua.

While at the address, a man presented a firearm and the police dog was shot and subsequently killed. Two officers immediately removed the dog’s body from the house and one officer jumped to safety out of a second-storey window.”

A memorial service has since been held for Gazza at the police dog training center.

Gazza being laid to rest
Killed police dog Gazza, wrapped in a New Zealand flag, was farewelled on Friday.

Rest in peace buddy and thank you for a job well done.

(Source: Information courtesy of The Guardian website)

8 thoughts on “Another Hero Falls. Police Dog Killed in the Line of Duty

  1. Oh wow, Mara – I am amazed that I found this article because this is actually a personal topic for me. One of my dearest friend’s husband is a police officer and his dog saved his life just a few months ago and it made national news. Not long after that, another one of their K-9’s was killed by a snake on a search. People have no idea the bond between these officers and their K-9’s. It is incredible. Thanks for giving recognition to this important topic!

    1. Me too Debbie – my husband is a police officer and we have known many dog handlers in the force. Plus, we used to have a German Shepherd, so feel a special affinity for this breed anyway. So sorry to hear about the snake – such a shame that the dog lost his life, but it just goes to show how many hazards they face in their working life. Thanks for sharing your feedback, Mara.

        1. Hi Debbie,
          What an amazing story! So glad he was able to trigger the remote device to open the patrol car door. Lucas is a great looking dog, and well done to him for saving the day. Glad your friend was OK. Thanks for sharing this with me, Mara.

          1. Me too Mara! There aren’t very many of those around here, it was a miracle that he happened to have one that night. We are so grateful! His wife is my hairdresser who I love dearly. Lucas is very protective! All of her clients were scared of him for years and now he is a hero! We are so thankful for him now! He now eats steak a lot! 🙂

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