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Ocala
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Ocala Police Department introduces newest member of K-9 unit

The Ocala Police Department is proud to introduce K-9 Marshal, its newest addition to the K-9 unit.

K-9 Marshal is a hybrid canine – part Belgian Malinois and part German Shepherd. Born in Hungary on October 4, 2020, Marshal was purchased through Southern Coast K9 located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

OPD welcomes Marshal to K 9 unit
K-9 Marshal is the newest member of the K-9 unit (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

K-9 Marshal is certified as an apprehension and drug detection canine. He was named after Ocala’s Town Marshal, Burrell Dawkins, who was fatally shot in the downtown square on March 1, 1881, while attempting to arrest a man.

Dawkins was first elected as Town Marshal in 1869 at the age of 26. The town marshal’s duties included arresting anyone who was drunk in public, arresting those who used profane or obscene language in a boisterous manner, and maintaining the streetlamps, among other responsibilities.

In 1873, Dawkins was shot when he tried to remove a man who rode a horse into the lobby of the Ocala Hotel. He survived and continued to serve as town marshal until his death in 1881.

OPD welcomes Marshal to K 9 unit 1
It is believed that Marshal Burrell Dawkins was wearing this badge when he was shot in 1873 (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

After Dawkins’ death, the city council passed a resolution that stated, “Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, the power of the universe, to take from our midst Marshal Burrell Dawkins while performing the duties of his office resolved that although we bow to the decree of Providence, we feel we have lost in him a faithful and upright officer. Resolve that we tender our condolences to the family of the deceased for the irreparable loss they have sustained.”

Police Chief Mike Balken said, “Marshal Burrell Dawkins was, as far as we know, Ocala’s first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty. He will never be forgotten, and we’ll always remember the ultimate sacrifice he made. Having a K-9 named Marshal is just one way that we, as an agency, can continue to honor our first fallen officer.”

Officer Roberson is K-9 Marshal’s handler. According to OPD, Roberson and K-9 Marshal completed 480 hours of basic K-9 training, they passed their FDLE certification, and they received a nationally recognized narcotics certification.

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K-9 Marshal with Officer Roberson (Photo courtesy of Ocala Police Department)

Each K-9 on active duty, including K-9 Marshal, will receive ongoing additional training throughout their career with the police department.