THE MEMORY of a fallen soldier from Warwickshire is living on in a West Midlands Police dog who has already been tracking down criminals in Acocks Green.
Private Jeff Doherty, who died in the Helmand Province in 2008 just two days after his 20th birthday, has been honoured by the force which has named one of their canine recruits after him.
JJ, the black German shepherd, was named after Private Doherty − known as JJ to family, friends and regiment colleagues − after his mother met Terry Arnett, the force’s Breed Scheme manager, at a military charity meeting.
Joyce Doherty, who recently met the dog, said: “Following JJ’s death we set-up the JJ Memorial Fund − a charity raising money for injured paratroopers and their families − and after getting to know Terry he suggested naming one of their new puppies after him.
“I thought it was a lovely idea – they’ve kept me updated on his progress through training and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting JJ and his handler Wayne several times.
“He’s a fantastic dog, full of life, very playful and from what Wayne tells me is full of fighting spirit – everything we remember of JJ himself.”
Puppy JJ was born into the West Midlands Police breed scheme in March 2013, completed training with flying colours and took to the streets alongside handler PC Wayne Mellings last month.
A natural on the job, on his first two days on the streets he tracked down a suspected burglar hiding in an Acocks Green garden, tracked down a man associated with a cannabis farm hiding behind a shed and chased him down when he tried to escape.
PC Terry Arnett, who initially met Private Doherty’s mother, added: “The Parachute Regiment motto is Utrinque Paratus: Ready for Anything.
“Police dog JJ has showed he’s operating in the regiment’s true spirit and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to Jeff and 2 Para.”