Normal Police remember canine partner Gunner like a member of the family

police dog
The late Normal Police dog Gunner, seen here with his handler, Officer Shane Bachman. Gunner died Friday morning after suffering from arthritis and other ailments.
(Normal Police Department photo)

By Howard Packowitz

NORMAL – A beloved canine member of the Normal Police Department has died.

The department’s Facebook page says Gunner the police dog died at home after suffering from arthritis and other ailments.

Chief Rick Bleichner said Officer Shane Bachman continued to care for Gunner after the animal’s service was done.

“The department certainly gets attached to him, but definitely the handler gets attached to him. They spend a lot of time going through training together. They spend seven, eight hours a day in the car together. Plus the officer takes the dog home so many times they become just like members of the family,” said Bleichner.

The chief said Gunner served on the force from 2008 until last year.

“They’re great partners. They’re great representatives of the department and they get used to performing at a certain level. Then once they start having some of these help ailments and then once they’re taken out of that daily service… You know, unfortunately a lot of times they kind of deteriorate and go down hill pretty fast,” Chief Bleichner also said.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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