BRIGHTON, Colo. (KDVR) — The loss of a K-9 patrol dog that was shot and killed by a suspect in Golden has hit the community hard.

The dog, named Graffit, had been with the department for years.

Officers and their dogs go through a lot of continuous training to help keep the public safe. FOX31 caught up with law enforcement officers as they trained with their K-9s.

In a class at Complete Canine Training in Brighton on Tuesday, the animals were learning how to bite correctly. In these moments, the bond between officer and animal grows stronger.

K-9s officers like family

Officer Christopher Morales said his Belgian Malinois named Okus has become like a family member.

“Okus is the first one I see when I wake up every single morning. We have a strong relationship bond. We have a routine,” Morales said.

Morales is an officer from New Mexico who came for training in Colorado.

The canine becomes the officer’s partner on patrol.

Deputy Trenton Negley, of Washington County, said he can always count on his dog Sirius in rural areas in Northeast Colorado.

“It’s good to have my backup right there in my backseat. But not only that, but they are a really good locating tool. So I hope to help my agency the best that I can,” Negley said.

K-9s trained to do difficult police work

Once an officer partners up with their K-9, continuous training is required.

They work together, they go to school together, all to protect their communities — like the one Garrett Hendron and his dog Echo patrol in Carlsbad.

“The biggest thing is the basics. So, we are starting these dogs off with the fundamentals and building them from there in true-life scenarios,” Hendron said.

The animals are trained to do some of the most difficult police tasks. The loss of Jefferson County K-9 Graffit hit the K-9 community hard.

“It’s really sad. We know how important K-9s are to not only the handler but the entire department as a whole. We feel for them,” said Chris Pelle, Complete Canine Training’s CEO and head trainer.

When the dogs leave this class with their handlers, they too will work hard to keep their communities safe.