The Sioux Falls Police Department announced this week that retired K9 officer Rio has passed away.

Rio faithfully served on the Sioux Falls Police Department for seven years before retiring in July of 2019. Rio spent his last days in retirement being pampered by Officer Irish.

Police told Dakota News Now back in 2019 that Rio was essential in diffusing certain situations that would have required more assertive action.

"It's like losing part of the family," said Lieutenant David McIntire in 2019. "We see them on a daily basis, but the K9 handler especially cares for these dogs, they live with the handler and they train with them regularly, so they spend a lot of time together and they're in the car on patrol with them every minute."

The Sioux Falls Police Department typically has five K9 units and each goes through 16 weeks of training before going out on patrol.

Rest easy Rio.

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