On November 14, the City of Newburgh Police Department announced the passing of K9 Bella.
Bella was a 5 ½ year old German shepherd that spent nearly every hour in the presence of her handler, Officer William Hinspeter.
For members of the police department, losing Bella was like losing a family member. In many ways there is an equal value placed on human life and the lives of K9s in the police force.
Taking a second to breathe, Hinspeter remembered the last moment he spent with Bella. For him it was “tough” to watch her go. “It was tough,” said Hinspeter. “Very tough.”
Hinspeter had watched Bella grow from a puppy to a dog. For him, raising Bella was a special experience. “It was awesome,” said Hinspeter. “You know, it was something that words can’t even be put into to describe. She was an amazing dog.”
There was not one moment with Bella that Hinspeter didn’t enjoy. She was a special dog with an even more encouraging work ethic. “A lot of handlers say some dogs have a switch,” said Hinspeter. “Some dogs don’t have that switch, and the switch basically is what we call: when they go to work, they know they’re in work mode, and when they go home, they know they’re in relax mode.” Bella had that switch and always knew when it was the right moment to jump into work mode.
At home, Hinspeter has a wife, children, and another pet dog. Despite being a working dog, Bella still loved Hinspeter’s family like any other pet.
“She was great with my kids,” said Hinspeter. “She liked to get into mischief at home. You know, steal food. My wife would turn around making dinner, and she would steal it off the counter or eat my kids’ food when they weren’t looking.”
Hinspeter has been with the department for 14 ½ years. He has only been a K9 handler for the past 4 ½ years.
“At this time, I couldn’t tell you,” said Hinspeter, when asked if he’d take on new K9s. “It all depends on which avenues the department chooses to go. You know if it was [a possibility], I’m supportive of the opportunity. I think I would, yes.”