The officers and staff at the Ocean County Sheriff's Office are in mourning today after the sudden death of their K9 officer Bear.

The Ocen County Sheriff announced Bear's death on their Facebook page on Sunday, saying, "It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that the Ocean County Sheriff's Office announces the sudden passing of K9 Bear."

Bear had been a K9 officer with the Ocean County Sheriff' for five years, handled by Sheriff's Officer Christine Casullo.

Bear, a 7-year-old German Shepherd, is being remembered for serving the citizens of Ocean County fearlessly and with a tremendous amount of loyalty. Over his 5 years with the department, Bear was responsible for numerous explosive sweeps in Ocean County as well as assisting various state & federal task forces.

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Before Bear's passing, the Ocean County Sheriff K9 department had 11 service canines including 3 Bloodhounds, 2 narcotic detections, 3 explosive detections, 1 arson detection, 1 patrol, and 1 cadaver canine, according to their website.

Bear participated in many public demonstrations and along with his handler, he was a welcome addition at countless community events.

The K9 division of the Ocean County Sheriff's unit has a proud tradition of service. The unit has been responding to requests for assisting neighboring counties since 1962 and to explosive detection requests since 1992. In 2001, two of their K-9 Unit handlers responded to a request to perform tunnel sweeps after the 9/11 terroristic attacks.

K9 Bear will be greatly missed by all. Our condolences to his handler.

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