California officer says goodbye to dying police dog in emotional photo

Authorities in Southern California were mourning one of their four-legged crime fighting partners who died Friday.

The Chula Vista Police Department said Griffen, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, suffered from an undisclosed medical condition.

Griffen's handler, Officer Curtis Chancellor, his handler's family and other members of the department's K9 program were present when he passed, police said.

The department posted a photo on Twitter of Griffen's handler giving an emotional last goodbye, embracing the dog with both of his arms.

“It is hard to overstate the bond that a K9 and his handler have when working long hours in dangerous situations," a police spokesperson told FOX5 San Diego. "CVPD’s law enforcement family extends deepest sympathies to his partner officer."

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Chula Vista police Lt. Eric Thunberg told FOX5 that Griffen worked alongside his handler on the night shift, and was well known in the community as a frequent guest at public events.

“On behalf of all the women and men at the Chula Vista Police Department, Thank You Griffen for your service," police said in a statement. "You will be missed."