FREEHOLD - The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday the passing of one of its K-9 units.

K-9 Falko, a German Shepard and 11-year veteran of the force, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer which spread quickly. Several K-9 units and their handlers gathered at NorthStar Vets in Robbinsville, where Falko was provided with the proper send off.

"The Monmouth County Sheriff's Office is extremely saddened on the passing of this exceptional and loyal member of our K-9 unit and we thank everyone for their continued support,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. "Falko played a pivotal role in helping to protect our county against criminal and terroristic threats and was an effective measure in providing a fast and specialized response to potentially dangerous situations. We are grateful to Falko for his service. He will be missed.”

K-9 Falko was partnered with Sheriff’s Officer James Fay. “Falko was my partner. He was a great dog, and great dogs never leave, they live in your heart forever,” said Officer Fay.

K-9 Falco specialized in explosives detection for the county.