FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — At the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Floyd County said goodbye to the last member of law enforcement killed in a shootout last week.
K-9 Drago joined the Floyd County Sheriff's Office in late 2017. Then-deputy Justin Szymchack selected him.
"I noticed Drago right off the bat because his birthday is the same birthday as my daughter's," Szymchack said.
Szymchack was Drago's handler until he left the agency earlier this year. He said he couldn't have asked for a better partner.
"Everybody would laugh and be like, 'Man, you're working alone, you going to be okay?' and I'd be like 'I'm not going to be working alone. I got the baddest deputy working with me! He's in my cruiser!'" Szymchack said.
For K-9 and handler, the partnership never goes off the clock. Szymchack said Drago was family.
"He's been a big part of us for so many years. He's been there when my kids were born. He went on vacation with us. He probably was with me more than my family was. We spent so much time together," he said.
Dusty Newsome has been Drago's handler since Szymchack left the department.
"Drago was one of a kind," Newsome said. "When I was at work, I put the vest on him. He knew it was time for business. When I get him home, take it off, he was just another goofy little dog."
During the service, Szymchack told funny stories about Drago's antics over the years, but most of all, he expressed his gratitude to the dog.
"My favorite thing about Drago is that he made sure I made it home to my little girls every night, and I can never repay him for that," Szymchack said.