Members of the London community gathered for a dedication ceremony on Thursday for a fallen police dog.
Caesar’s Off-Leash Area is a new dog park that is inviting all dogs and dog owners to let their dogs run free and enjoy the new space.
Mayor Matt Brown, Deputy Chief Daryl Longworth, members of the London Police Service Canine Unit, and members of the London Police Service Colour Guard all gathered to remember Caesar. Mayor Matt Brown says the entire community will benefit from the new park that honors an exceptional dog.
“This is an incredible way to recognize one of London’s heroes,” says Brown. “Caesar gave his life in the line of duty, and saved many people on that day in 1974. I can’t think of a better way to recognize that heroism.”
Caesar died moments after a shoot-out with an armed gunman in February of 1974. His former owner, Constable Merrimen says the park was a long-time coming, but that it’s a tribute dear to his heart for a special dog who sacrificed his life for many.
“He was part of my family, and he was shot and killed,” says Cst. Merrimen. He played a huge role in saving my life, and the lives of other police officers that were there. With Caesar being deployed, we were able to apprehend the fella [gunman], and it probably saved that man’s life too.”
Andrew MacPherson, Manager of Environmental and Parks Planning was part of the canine project, working with police to make the idea become a reality.
Constable Merrimen says Caesar was a dog with a desire to please, and an easy one to train. Caesar was a very happy dog in his eyes, one who loved people and other dogs.
“He would love to be here, he’s a sociable dog. He would’ve loved to be here with all the people and other dogs and just run free.”
Although Constable Merrimen lost his partner in 1974, he continued to work with other successful police service dogs until his retirement in July of 2000.