HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Police Officer, Chris Hensley, is still recovering from serious injuries after a traffic accident one week ago, but the department is mourning the loss of man's best friend and Hensley's partner, Police Dog, Nero.
"For him to lose his partner just like that it's a really tragic blow," said member of the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation, Chris Cook.
One week ago an 18-wheeler hit Hensley head-on on Interstate 59 leaving Hensley severely injured and killing his K-9, Nero.
"Officer Hensley and Nero had worked together for several years," said Cook.
Cook says Nero is now the 5th officer lost in the line of duty.
"The dogs, they are sworn police officers. That would be just like losing a man or a woman in the line of duty. His arrangements haven't been made yet, but when they do it will be definitely a burial with full honors," said Cook.
Cook says both the foundation and the department are waiting for Hensley to recover from his injuries so he can attend Nero's burial.
"This was his partner, his best friend, his family member who was lost,"said Cook.
For now, Cook says the foundation has created a funds for both Nero and Hensley.
"The Hensley family has set up a fund at Priority One Bank, and that is just to help with medical expenses or any other expenses they may incur along the way," said Cook.
Cook is also a part of a group called "Cover our K-9's", and with the encouragement of a officer's wife motivated the group set up a memorial fund for Nero.
"That's at the First Bank. You can call the First and ask about the Nero Benefit Account," said Cook.
Cook says "Cover our K-9's" has already provided bullet and stab proof vest for K-9's , heat alert systems for the k-9's in officer's cars, and agility courses for HPD and Lamar County.
"I just think it shows the amount of respect the community has for law enforcement around here, because they do a lot of good things, things that go on behind the scene that people don't see, how they help other people in the community," said Cook.
Cook says there is also be a police and fire association softball tournament for Hensley on July 14 at Tatum Park. There will also be a hamburger sale at Mugshots July 20.
For the complete information on the funds and events email Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org