Letter From K-9 'Schultz' Handler Cpl. Mark Pickard
Through a colleague Monday night, officer offers first public comments since 'Schultz' died Nov. 30.
The police department's K-9 unit was recognized for its 2nd place overall finish at the 2010 United States Police Canine Association National Field Trials, held November in Hammond, LA, during Monday night's council meeting.
The competition was held less than a month before K-9 "Schultz" was killed apprehending a robbery suspect on Route 42, in Blackwood.
The Gloucester Township Police K-9 Unit was one of two among the more than 100 police departments to compete in the event to place two K-9s in the top 20 finishers. St. Paul, MN, was the other, police said.
Below is a copy of a letter from Gloucester Township Police Cpl. Mark Pickard, who was the police dog's handler, as read by Deputy Chief David Harkins Monday night:
As everyone here is aware, Nov. 30, 2010 is a night I will never forget! The events of that night are etched in my mind in a way that I will never be able to describe.
I want to say "thank you" for the love and support that my family and I have received.
To my police supervisors, including Chief Earle, Deputy Chief Harkins, Captain
Minosse and Captain Weiserth, who have worked tirelessly to see that my family and I have been taken care of. Thank you for looking out for my family, and for properly honoring Schultz that night, and at the memorial service.
To my co-workers, both past and present, who worked diligently on the night of
November 30th to ensure that the incident concluded safely, and to give me the closure of knowing that the perpetrators were caught. My family and I will never forget those who honored Schultz at the Chews Landing Animal Hospital in the rain and in the early morning hours after this incident, and in the cold at the memorial service the following week. The continued support of my brother and sister officers has been memorable throughout this journey. To all of those who have had special tasks, fielded calls, answered questions, sent a special message, or have offered an ''I'm sorry," please always remember that the Gloucester Township Police Department is a better place because of Schultz.
Living in Gloucester Township with my wife and three children has given me the
opportunity to meet many people, through our involvement in school, sports and the community. For all of my friends and neighbors, so many who have taken the time to call, bake or deliver food, sent a generous donation, or have reached out and hugged my kids. I want to say to you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness and generosity have been overwhelming to us.
To my family, you have been my rock, a rock in which I gain strength. For your love and support I will forever be grateful.
To the community here in Gloucester Township and all of South Jersey and beyond: Many of you I have never met. Some of you I know from friends, family, co-workers or businesses here in town and some from out of state. To all of you who have taken the time to send a card, draw a picture, take a collection, make a donation, drop off a sign, post on the website, stop by to visit or offered a hug, I want to say thank you.
Last but not least, to my brother officers of the K-9 Unit. Our bond is one that cannot be described. The long hours and hard work that we spent to achieve 2nd place in the nation is nothing compared to what you have done to help me and my family through this ordeal. For your untiring work to help prepare for Schultz's memorial, and the endless hours of your personal time helping me get a grip on this situation, no words can ever express my thanks and gratitude. I can only hope that you know how much you mean to me and my family. Without you I could not have gotten through it.
In closing I want to offer my sincere thank you from the entire Pickard Family. Our beloved Schultz will always be remembered in our hearts. Thank you for taking the time to share and care with us.
Cpl. Mark Pickard