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Jinx's former family proposes law for tougher penalties for people who kill or injure working K9s

Fallen K9 Jinx
Posted at 8:52 PM, Mar 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-31 11:34:49-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — It’s been almost one year since K9 officer Jinx with the El Paso County Sheriff's was shot and killed in the line of duty. Now, the dog's former family wants to create a law to impose tougher penalties for people who kill or injure working K9s. A petition the family created with nearly 3,000 signatures is also calling for support for the law to be changed.

After Jinx's passing, his mom and wife of Jinx's handler, Julie Hancock learned that injuring or killing a K9 officer doesn’t have harsh penalties. According to Colorado Springs Police, the crime is obstructing a police dog which is a misdemeanor.

“There are really no laws on the books that would have had severe punishment, where they would do jail time,” said Hancock.

Hancock has turned her grief into a mission to honor Jinx and his legacy. She has been working with state lawmakers to draft a bill that would increase penalties for a suspect who injures or kills a K9 officer.

“What helped me get through some of the pain, was really focusing on working to change those laws in Jinx's honor,” said Hancock.

Hancock added that a misdemeanor penalty would not have been enough if the suspect who killed Jinx would have survived. That’s why she wants to change Colorado law, and she wants it to be called, 'Jinx's law'.

“I don't want any family to go through what we went through. Obviously hoping that with stiffer penalties, more people will think twice before they try to kill or injure a working K9,” said Hancock.

Jinx was shot and killed by a menacing suspect in Manitou Springs on April 11 last year. Law enforcement returned fire, killing the suspect. Nearly a year later, the Hancock family is still grieving.

“It’s been a very difficult year, but we're doing better. Obviously still missing Jinx tremendously,” said Hancock.

Hancock described Jinx as a hard-working K9, and playful at home.

“He did whatever he was told to do. Jinx had an amazing shut-off. When he was home, e was relaxed, just was a regular dog, loved to play ball.”

Now the family is only left with Jinx's belongings and the memories left behind.

“He was an amazing dog, for the two years that we had him, he gave us a lot of joy,” said Hancock.

Hancock said a bill is being drafted right now, and it's already gotten support from state lawmakers.

Deputy Ronnie Hancock, Jinx's former handler, is now working with a new K9 named Stix. His wife Julie said they're excited to see Stix's future with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and what he can do to keep the community safe.

Jinx was three years old and had been serving with the department since March 2020. In just 2 years at the department, Jinx was deployed 124 times, including 64 narcotic and 58 SWAT deployments, according to Elder.

At Jinx’s memorial service, the sheriff at the time, Bill Elder said that Jinx's actions that night "certainly saved the lives" of the two officers on the scene.

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