Jynx, a K-9 Cop Hero
Deputy Kyle Pagerly and Deputy Jynx
Heart Wrenching Fame
Everyone in eastern Pennsylvania's Berks County and many along the east coast know his name and of his heroism.
The law enforcement community and the public 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, it is bittersweet achievement because Jynx’s partner won't be around to share the good living.
Partners in the Truest Sense
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 part-time county deputy sheriff. His work mates say he was a high energy person who always answered the call for difficult assignments.
In high school sports, there is an award called “Players’ Player” in which a team honors one of their own.
In law enforcement and community service, Kyle Pagerly was that kind of man - the one who had the highest appreciation and respect from his peers.
Canine Jynx came to the United States from Slovakia for the Berks County Sheriff’s Department. He was a young dog with no training. He lived with Deputy Pagerly and the deputy's new bride in their brand new house, ready for adventure.
Jynx and Pagerly travelled together from Reading, PA 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.
Certainly, partners is not a strong enough word for their relationship.
A Community Public Relations Demonstration Made By Jynx and Pagerly in 2010
Devastating Tragedy on June 29, 2011
An individual with a history of mental illness was living in a pocket of mountain wilderness in Kempton, in the northern point of the county. It is sparsely populated – a log cabin home sort of area – and is frequented by naturalists, wildlife admirers, and hawk migration observers. A section of the Appalachian Trail passes not too far away. It is not suburbia. It is not farmland. It's the kind kind of hilly, forested area that's ideal for hiding out, if that's your goal.
This man in question had threatened lives of his family and had additional burglary, firearms and assault charges against him. He was at large and dangerous.
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 armed and extremely dangerous.
Using the unique canine tracking skills that K-9 officers have, 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 Pagerly's protective armor, bullets from the semi-automatic weapon found their fatal mark.
In the midst of the ensuing gun battle 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.
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. She was pregnant with their first child.
At the same time, he had to make the decision whether to keep Jynx in the Sheriff's Department or release him from duty.
The Chief Sheriff immediately and wisely decided 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.
A trained dog like Jynx is a huge financial investment made by a force. However, experience shows that not all K-9 officers can make a successful transition to a new handler and new home. The Chief Sheriff showed great judgment and compassion for both Mrs. Pagerly and Jynx.
Although Deputy Jynx was retired, many members of the sheriff’s department visit him regularly. Jynx 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, Alecia Pagerly and the daughter born January 2012.
The Chief Sheriff visited Mrs. Alecia Pagerly with the horrific news that her husband was killed in the line of duty. She was pregnant with their first child.
End of Watch
It was brutally dry and hot the day set to honor Deputy Pagerly. Law enforcement K-9 handlers from up and down the east coast came with their dogs to line the street the hearse would travel.
The funeral procession solemnly progressed along a main downtown business thoroughfare. The street was blocked to traffic but it was good fortune that the businesses remained open in a subdued fashion. The July concrete sidewalks upon which officers and dogs stood at attention was dangerously hot for the foot pads of the unflinching canines. Over and over, store employees poured buckets of cool water on the sidewalks to lower the temperature for these canine officers and prevent skin burns.
Tribute to Fallen Deputy Pagerly
What Wondrous Love
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 did not come from his training. In all the classes and certifications a K-9 law enforcement dog such as Jynx received, dragging a dead weight, lifeless adult who is wearing body armor while wearing your own personal protective gear is not included in K-9 school.
Trying to pull his brother, his family, his partner to safety -
That came from the heart.
May God Keep Them
A section of a state highway in Berks County, PA has been named the Kyle Pagerly Memorial Highway. Would that we never need to do this again.
Reading Eagle, Jason Kahl, June 30 2011.
Reading Eagle, Steve Henshaw, July 2 2011.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Maren Elizabeth Morgan