A rolling tribute for a K-9 officer in West Hartford

WEST HARTFORD -- After a distinguished career serving his community, a West Hartford K-9 officer was honored this week.

K-9 Reign, a German Shepherd who was part of the West Hartford Police Department for six years, was recognized by his peers during an honor ride ceremony.

K-9 Reign, a German Shepherd who was part of the department for six years, was recognized by his peers during an honor ride ceremony.

Reign retired in 2012 after being a part of numerous successful missions working alongside Detective Rosario Savastra, a 17-year veteran of the West Hartford Police Department. At 14-years-old and in failing health, Reign had to be put down by his veterinarian Wednesday night.

"It's hard to put into words because he was everything, he was a great police dog," Savastra said. "He was hardcore and then he would come home and it was like flicking a light switch, he'd be so loving to my family."

Lt. Eric Rocheleau, a fellow K-9 Officer in West Hartford, said that Officer Reign served his department well.

"He was completely energetic, but we was social too which was great," said Lt. Rochelea.

Rocheleau, who partnered with longtime K-9 Officer Kora, who had to be put down in 2011, added "Reign was as serious as a heart attack to bad guys but you brought him in the station and everybody loved him."

Reign retired in 2012 after being a part of numerous successful missions working alongside Detective Rosario Savastra, a 17-year veteran of the West Hartford Police Department.

On the steps of the station house on Raymond Road, officers gathered to salute K-9 Reign before he had to be put down by his veterinarian.

Detective Savastra drove his partner on an honor ride passing by two dozen West Hartford police personnel.

Fighting back tears, Savastra said "It's nice to see how everyone cared about him and still does."

As evening approached, with friends and family gathered in the Savastra's backyard, Reign was put down about an hour after his honor ride.

Rocheleau added "I can't even explain it, it's like losing one of our family members."