“Code 3”

A good partner is not easy to find. It's that much more important to find the perfect match knowing your life may be in their...

A good partner is not easy to find. It’s that much more important to find the perfect match knowing your life may be in their hands. As in the case with Jess Havin and his partner Earp, a police officer and his K-9.

They were at the scene of a murder, one dead, the other locked up in the house refusing to come out. Earp was sent in to help take down the knife wielding man who had just killed his wife. Earp, an 8-year-old German Shepherd, had never been ordered to attack before. Prior to this he was used as a drug sniffing dog, to find guns, or to scare people.

SAN DIEGO – San Diego police Sgt. Jess Havin knew every minute mattered when he scooped up his bloodied partner and bolted to the cruiser they’ve shared for five years.

It took one minute to escape the chaos of the home where two people lay dead and load his partner into the back. It took five more to race to the hospital, lights flashing and siren blaring in the “code 3” of police jargon.

“We don’t have a policy where you run a code 3 for an animal,” Havin said. “I don’t care. I did it. I’d do it again.”

Earp had been stabbed in the throat and received life saving surgery to repair the carotid artery that was severed. Doctors said he would have died if Havin hadn’t used a “code 3”, cutting the normal 10 minute drive in half.

The Police Department won’t decide whether Earp will retire early or return to the force until the end of a mandatory 14-day rest following the attack. Either way, he’ll live out his retirement at Haven’s home in Alpine.

Police dogs typically retire when they are about 8 years old because they start becoming less “driven,” Havin said.

“This dog will slide right into it, especially because the last two nights he’s been sleeping in the bedroom,” Havin said.

We wish Havin and Earp the best, what a great team.

* Wonderful pic of Havin and Earp courtesy Howard Lipin/Union-Tribune

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