SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The investigation continues into the death of a Savannah State K-9 that was left in hot patrol car in Rincon.
According to the police, Sgt. Baston's handler pulled up at home, and when he went inside to bring food to his wife and children, he fell asleep and forgot about the K-9 in the back of the car. When he woke up and realized where Baston was, it was too late. The dog died after spending more than three hours in the hot car, according to the report.
The handler is no longer employed by the University.
Sgt. Baston's first handler, Kevin Digou, is now speaking out in hopes that this community remembers the K-9 for his service.
"He was the most laid-back dog that I have ever had," said Kevin Digou, Baston's former handler. "He was the epitome of man's best friend."
Sgt. Baston was more than a partner, he was the family pet. Digou and Baston were teammates in the field for Savannah State for several years.
"The first month that I had him, we made 15 felony arrests for drugs," said Digou.
Sgt. Baston joined the SSU police department back in 2010, and since then, he has helped a number of other agencies across the Coastal Empire.
"The only time I can ever remember him barking, was when my wife's 12-pound dog scared him," Digou said.
When Digou left the department for a career change, he claims he offered a substantial check to the University to purchase Baston. However, Baston was a valuable asset they did not feel they could lose. Since then, Digou has followed Baston up until his death on July 10th.
"Finding out how he died I just…," Digou said. "We lost him once when I left, and we lost him a second time now that he died."
In the meantime, Digou plans to push for mandatory heat alarms or equipment that may save the lives of these working K9s.
"What's another $1,000 that will blink all the lights, turn on the sirens, and roll down the windows," said Digou.
The University has agreed to give Digou Sgt. Baston's remains.
Digou hopes that by sharing more about Sgt. Baston, he will be placed on the National Officer-Down Memorial Page.