End of Watch: December 23, 2003
Nero, a German Shepherd, was born in the Czech Republic on February 3, 1998. He was imported into the United States and assigned to his partner, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Todd Gooler in September 1999. Nero and Deputy Gooler participated in an intensive, full-time canine training regimen to include obedience, agility, area searches, building searches, vehicle searches, handler protections, vehicle retention and tracking. The team was certified for patrol deployment on January 9, 2000 and Nero was assigned badge #K9-8.
During his career, Nero was involved in 394 felony arrests and directly responsible for apprehending 78 criminals. Although Nero was very serious at work, he was a gentle and playful pet at home and around children.
In the early morning hours on December 23, 2003, Deputies at the Sacramento International Airport began pursuing a vehicle which was being operated in a reckless manner. The previous day, the National Alert Threat Level had been elevated to orange, the second highest level. Following the 45 minute chase, it was determined the car had been stolen from one of the airport’s car rental agencies and the thief was on parole.
While responding to assist the deputies with apprehending the fleeing suspect, Deputy Gooler’s patrol car was involved in a solo vehicle accident. Nero was ejected from the vehicle and died as a result of the injuries he sustained.