Jynx, a K-9 Cop Hero
Deputy Kyle Pagerly and Deputy Jynx
Everyone in Berks County, PA and many along the east coast know his name and of his heroism. The law enforcement community and the public have heaped honors and awards on him. For the rest of his life, Jynx, a German Shepherd K-9 Deputy Sheriff will have free food, free veterinary care and free grooming. He warmed our hearts even as he wrenched tears from us. Jynx is going to be just fine. However, there is bittersweetness because Jynx’s partner died.
Before the fateful day, Jynx worked with his human handler Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly. Kyle Pagerly was a 28-year-old army veteran, a volunteer firefighter, part-time police officer and county deputy sheriff. He was noted as a high energy person who always answered the call for assignments. Relatively newly wed, he had just bought his first house. In high school sports, there is an award called “Players’ Player” in which peers honor one of their own. In law enforcement and community service, Kyle Pagerly was that kind of man - who had won the appreciation and respect of his peers.
Jynx came to the United States for the Berks County Sheriff’s Department as a young dog with no training. He lived with Deputy Pagerly and his wife. Jynx and Pagerly travelled together to a Police K-9 school in Philadelphia for training as a patrol dog and handler, and also for certification in finding weapons, ammunition, and explosives. They were incredibly close through living and training and working together. Partners is not a strong enough word for their relationship.
One of Pagerly and Jynx's community demonstrations in 2010
June 29, 2011
An individual with a history of mental illness was living in a pocket of mountain wildness in the northern point of the county. It is sparsely populated – a log cabin home sort of area – and is frequented by naturalists, wildlife rescuers, and hawk migration observers. A section of the Appalachian trail passes not too far away. Not suburbia. Not farms. It’s the hilly, forested area good for hiding out. This man had threatened lives of his family and had burglary, firearms and assault charges against him, so a joint task force of troopers from Reading, a state police fugitive task force, U.S. marshals and Berks County sheriff's deputies converged to serve a warrant.
Jynx wore full body armor. So did the rest of the force. Somewhere in the woods, they expected to encounter the suspect. They regarded him as extremely dangerous and expected him to be armed. Using the unique canine tracking skills that K-9 officers bring to the job, Jynx was the first to find him. He alerted the force and led Deputy Pagerly to the wooded location where the suspect, in camouflage, gripped a loaded AK-47 assault rifle.
When Pagerly ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, the troubled individual opened fire. Despite the protective armor, bullets from the semi-automatic weapon found their fatal mark. In the midst of a gunbattle between the joint force and the suspect, Jynx did the only thing that he could have done: he tried to save his partner.
“After Pagerly was shot, authorities said, his K-9 partner, a German shepherd about 3 years old named Jynx, tried to drag him by his pants away from danger.” (Reading Eagle) Tragically, Deputy Pagerly died hours later.
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Jynx saved many officers' lives, but not the life of his handler
In what must be the saddest part of his duties, the chief sheriff visited Mrs. Alecia Pagerly with the horrific news that her husband was killed in the line of duty. At the same time, he had immediately made the wise decision to retire Jynx. The sheriff told the widow he intended to give Jynx to her rather than have him retrained to work with another officer. Part of the reasoning is that experience shows some K-9 officers can not make a successful transition to a new handler and new home.
Deputy Jynx has been officially recognized for his adeptness in locating the suspect and alerting the entire task force, thereby saving many lives. His selfless act of dragging Kyle away from danger is nothing included in training. That came from the heart. Although he is being retired, many members of the sheriff’s department plan to visit him regularly. Jynx has lost his partner and good buddy. The chief sheriff’s decision to spare Jynx the further trauma of dealing with a new home is laudable. Jynx belongs in his home with his other human family member, Alecia Pagerly. And I am sure that Jynx has been wonderful welcoming the next family member, the couple's first child, who was January 2012. Kyle would have wanted it that way.
Tribute to Fallen Deputy Pagerly
Reading Eagle, Jason Kahl, June 30 2011.
Reading Eagle, Steve Henshaw, July 2 2011.
A healthy little girl was born to Deputy Pagerly's widow, and a section of a state highway in Berks County, PA has been named the Kyle Pagerly Memorial Highway.
Copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan