The investigation into the death of the Mercer County Canine Officer last Wednesday is complete and the handler speaks publicly for the first time at a media briefing Monday.
Deputy Fortkamp made a statement to the press. He stated that he takes full responsibility for what happened to his canine partner Zak. He wishes he could take back his actions and bring Zak back and that he would always love that dog.
Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey then reported the results of the internal investigation into canine Zak's death.
The sheriff stated that he believes no crime was committed but has turned over evidence to the prosecutor's office and they will decide on any charges being filed.
Grey reported that disciplinary action has been taken against Deputy Fortkamp citing he was in violation of 2 mercer county sheriff's standards of conduct.
One, exercising common sense and affirmatively promoting the organizations values and two, committing unsafe acts dangerous or threatening behavior.
Deputy Fortkamp has been suspended for 45 working days that will result in a $6,500 loss in pay. The sheriff says that he has punished him more than any court could.
The investigation reports that when deputy Fortkamp retuned to his cruiser to find Zak unresponsive he started c-p-r, when that did not work to revive the canine he was taken to the Coldwater Animal Clinic where he was pronounce dead.
The veterinarian stated that Zak's internal body temperature was above 108 degrees. At 106 a dog will start panting and heat stroke could set in.
The cruiser is equipped with an alarm system that will set off the horn, lights, roll down the windows and alert the handler through a pager.
That system was not turned on.