Springfield Police officers, K9 honored at Symphony Hall commemoration ceremony

Men and women in blue were honored with awards for heroic acts while on the force.
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 9:33 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 10:34 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Springfield Police Department honored their own Wednesday night at a special awards ceremony at Symphony Hall in downtown Springfield.

Men and women in blue were honored with awards for heroic acts while on the force. Western Mass News caught up with two of those award winners who received commendations for their actions a year ago this month.

“I didn’t think about how dangerous it was until afterwards, but it’s part of the job,” said K9 Officer Eric Blair.

He and his partner, now-retired K9 Mr. Warner, were the first two responders to an armed home invasion on Lowell Street on December 4th, 2021.

“That incident, in particular… it kind of heightened everything that was going on,” Officer Blair told us. “I got tunnel vision. I kind of just went into work mode with him and did his thing, and I followed him and he showed me where the guy was with the gun, and you know, we just went right up there and grabbed him.”

The two stood on stage at Symphony Hall alongside more than 70 officers, civilians and police dogs who were honored with commendation, Purple Heart, childbirth, and life saving awards Wednesday night.

“It just shows thanks for everything this dog has done throughout his career, and it makes me feel good knowing all the hard work and tears and sweat we put into him since 2014,” Officer Blair said. “We put in a lot of work, and he’s great.”

Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood expressed how proud she is of her officers and the work they do.

“I know it everyday because I read all the reports,” she said. “I see body-worn cameras, so I know the job they’re doing, but I think it’s important to recognize them in public with their family and friends here to say, ‘Hey, we know you went above and beyond.’”

After serving 7 years, Officer Blair told us that Mr. Warner retired the night of that incident, saying he was a great partner to have by his side.

“He’s a highly decorated K9,” he said. “I could’ve never asked for a better partner, you know.”

Officer Blair told us that Mr. Warner Is enjoying his retirement and loves sitting in front of the fire and relaxing at home.