HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The legacy of Sergeant Brian LaVigne will now be carried on by one of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office’s new K9s.

K9 Roy is named for the late sergeant who was killed in the line of duty last year. Together with the LaVigne family, HCSO’s K9 unit named Roy after Sergeant LaVigne’s middle name. K9 Roy’s handler is Deputy Sarah Ernstes, who has been with the agency since 2011 and is a close family friend of the Lavigne’s.

“This tribute to Sergeant Brian LaVigne is one that will be ever-present amongst those who come into contact with K9 Roy,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “While we continue to heal as an agency after losing Sergeant LaVigne last year, I know that K9 Roy will be a constant reminder of the legacy he left behind when his life was cruelly taken from us. It is an honor that the LaVigne family has allowed us to use his name to always remember the loving man, husband, father, and friend Sergeant LaVigne was to us all.”

Sergeant LaVigne was one shift from retirement on Jan. 11, 2021, when a suspect intentionally rammed his car into Sergeant LaVigne’s marked patrol vehicle. He died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash.

K9 Roy is a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix. He specializes in the search for narcotics. Deputy Ernstes and K9 Roy and two other handler/K9 duos graduated in September after 480 hours of training together.