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A video capturing a police officer braving a dangerous storm to save his K-9 partner last week has gone viral. It shows Officer Joel Nitchman with the Deer Park, Texas, police department rushing out during a tornado to rescue narcotics K-9 Roni, who was still in their squad car in the parking lot.
Nitchman and Roni have been partners since 2018, so when the wind started to pick up after the pair had just returned to the station from training, he didn’t hesitate to do everything he could to save the dog. "The thought of debris, or the car flipping over ... I couldn't do that to him,” the officer recalls. “I couldn't have him out there during that.”
Surveillance camera caught the dramatic scene as Nitchman runs outside while lightning flashes and visibility was so bad, he says he could barely see. But once he got to the car, the wind and rain were so strong, he could barely open the car door, and Roni is a smart dog, so he didn’t want to come out. After some coaxing by his partner, Roni finally gave in and the video shows the pair rushing back to the safety of the station.
Now Nitchman is being praised for risking his own safety to save his K-9 partner, but he says he just did what anyone would do in that situation. “I love that dog. He’s my hip attachment almost every day of the week,” he explains. “He’s a part of our family. We can’t leave a loved one like that.”