One of Vineland's police dogs died today, hours after being hit by a car while on a search detail, police said in a news release.
K-9 Officer "Clif" had just completed a search for a burglary suspect on Becker Drive with his handler, Sgt. William Bontcue. They were on their way back to their car about 5:50 a.m. when another car, driven by a 75-year-old woman, swerved around a uniformed officer who was walking on the west side of Becker Drive.
The officer tried to signal the woman with his flashlight, but she did not respond and struck Clif as he and Bonticue were walking on the grass.
Clif died from his injuries at Linwood Veterinary Hospital about 7 a.m.
Clif was a five-year-old German shepherd from Europe. He began working for the police department in early 2008. He graduated from the 34th Basic K-9 Patrol class in Atlantic County in May 2008. He was deployed to Vineland's patrol division immediately after graduating from training.