Join us in paying respects to K-9 Officer Thor

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

What happened to the Vicksburg Police Department’s K-9 officer Thor Tuesday is a tragedy.

It’s a tragedy to the Warren County community, the city of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Police Department. But most of all it is a tragedy to Thor’s handler and partner, Officer Donnie Heggins and his family.

After the article about Thor’s death was released Wednesday, residents turned to social media to share prayers for the family and their sadness after losing the 8-year-old German Shepherd.

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We empathize with the devastation a family feels when they lose a beloved pet, and this situation is similar. Thor lived at the Heggins’ home, and Heggins loved him.

Thor died Thursday after Heggin’s vehicle unexpectedly turned off, shutting off the air conditioner with Thor in the vehicle.

Leaving K-9 officers in air-conditioned cars is common procedure, and the city and police department are diligently working to learn why the car turned off on its own.

Some residents also turned to social media to share concerns as to why the dog was left in the vehicle. We ask they give city agencies time to learn what caused the tragedy and time to implement procedures that will prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.

Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. implemented a policy Thursday that only vehicles with sensors be used by agents with K-9 officers. If the vehicle turns off unexpectedly, as what reportedly happened in Thor’s case, the sensor will trigger an alarm.

A sensor was not on the vehicle that Thor was in Thursday.

We ask the community to join us in our prayers and support of the City of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Police Department and especially Officer Heggins and his family, as they and we mourn the loss of K-9 Officer Thor. We urge them to continue investigating how the death occurred and how they can prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.

We thank Thor for his years of service to the Vicksburg Police Department and for his work in keeping our city safe.