HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - Multiple law enforcement agencies came together Tuesday in Hinesville to pay their final respects to a fellow officer.
K-9 Zorza served for eight years and this afternoon was brought home to his partner one final time.
“I wasn’t ready to lose my best friend,” said Zorza’s former partner, retired Hinesville Police Officer Jerry Britting.
But on this rainy February day, Britting would say goodbye to his friend and partner.
“Our partnership was probably the best experience of my life,” he said.
A partnership that began more than a decade ago, and like any working relationship, took some adjusting to at first.
“When we first got together, we actually couldn’t communicate cause I didn’t know the language that he understood,” said Britting.
But it wouldn’t take long for Zorza and his new partner to get on the same page and in time, the two would become inseparable.
“He followed me everywhere. He would not allow me to get out of his sight,” said Britting.
Zorza was considered a handler dependent K-9, but when he retired in 2017 due to health issues, it was clear their partnership was one of codependence.
“So, he retired, and I continued to stay on the road. I tried it for a year and I just couldn’t be the police without my partner,” Britting said.
Britting joined his K-9 partner in retirement in 2018.
But sadly, this past month Britting was forced to make a tough decision as Zorza struggled to fight an infection that was slowly taking his life.
“I made a decision, I still regret to this day because I miss him, to have him put down,” he said.
So, as Zorza was brought home to be with his partner, and brother, one last time. He did so surrounded by his fellow officers, as a hero.
Leaving behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.
“I miss him being there. Like I said he was handler dependent and he was always there for me and now, he’s not,” Britting said.