Times Bulletin Editor
CELINA — The punishment was announced Monday for a Mercer County Sheriff’s deputy who left his K-9 partner in his patrol car and returned to find the dog dead from heat in the vehicle. Deputy Chad Fortkamp has been suspended for 45 days without pay by Sheriff Jeff Grey. According to Grey, that amounts to a loss in pay of about $6,500 for Fortkamp.
“Not everybody is going to be happy with my decision. In fact, most of them will be unhappy,” Grey admitted at a Monday morning press conference. “People are going to weigh my decision and some are going to say I was too hard and some are going to think I was too lenient. But I made the decision that I think is fair and just. And I believe the people of Mercer County trust me to do what is right.”
On Aug. 1, Fortkamp arrived at the Sheriff’s Office to work on a crash reconstruction from a fatal accident. He considered taking his K-9, Zak, into the office but decided to leave the dog in the car. However, Fortkamp had instinctively turned off the ignition. When he returned two hours later, he found Zak unresponsive in the back seat. Efforts at CPR did not work and the dog was taken to Coldwater where the nearest veterinarian was located. The dog was declared dead at the veterinarian’s office.
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