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K-9 Bolo continues legacy of Lake Wales K-9 killed in line of duty

By Staci DaSilva,


POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – “Wait, wait buddy,” said Officer Sean Robertson to an eager K-9 Bolo.

The Lake Wales Police K-9 team was in training mode at Florida Southern College, in coordination with the Lakeland Police Department.

K-9 Bolo, a 2-year old Belgian Malinois from Hungary, just started working the streets in May.

“That’s a good man, thatta boy,” Officer Robertson told him after successfully tracking a pretend domestic violence suspect.

K-9 Bolo is joining a four-team unit in Lake Wales, replacing another K-9 whose memory lives on in the department.

“Bolo is like a complete representation of Max. We want to carry that legacy out. We’ll never forget Max,” said Sgt. Dale Hampton, who oversees Lake Wales’ K-9 unit.

According to authorities, K-9 Max was shot and killed by a domestic violence suspect in August 2022.

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Newly-released body worn camera video obtained by News Channel 8 shows the barrage of gunfire that occurred as officers returned fire, killing Earnest Borders, the suspect.

“It was sickening to say the least,” Sgt. Hampton said of the video. “Max did everything that he was trained to do. Watching Max track, he had his tail up. He was bracketing.”

In late May, Mark Levine, an assistant state’s attorney, found the shooting to be justified.
Courtesy: Lake Wales Police Department

“Because of the subject’s actions, Officer Jared Joyner and Officer Esaul Hernandez believed that the subject was going to kill them and their fellow officers and were concerned and placed in fear for their safety and lives and for the safety and lives of their fellow officers when they fired their weapons at the subject,” a letter from Levine reads.

“If Max wouldn’t have been there today, them officers for sure would have been killed,” said Sgt. Hampton.

Along with K-9 Bolo, Lake Wales Police also recently welcomed K-9 Bane, who replaced K-9 Thor who retired in August 2021.

K-9’s Bolo and Bane, both German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix, were born in Hungary on the same day, February 7, 2021.

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