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Dog park’s name honors Porterdale K-9 officer credited with helping rehab town
Beau and Cripps
Then-Sgt. Jason Cripps poses with K-9 Sgt. Beau during the golden retriever’s service with the city from 2008 to 2013. (Special | Jason Cripps)

PORTERDALE, Ga. — A Porterdale canine police legend’s name will greet visitors to the city’s new dog park when it opens this fall.

Porterdale City Council voted recently to name the city’s new dog park near the Yellow River the “K-9 Beau Memorial Dog Park” in honor of the golden retriever who worked over half a decade to help police in two cities nab crime suspects and contraband and locate missing residents.

Beau was the first K-9 officer to serve Porterdale Police Department when the city of Varnell donated him in 2008, The Covington News reported in 2016. 

He then served the city for five years after former Porterdale police officer Jason Cripps returned from the East Point Police Department to create a K-9 program.

Beau was originally a narcotics dog only. However, he worked closely with Cripps on a wide range of events in Porterdale — from serious police work involving drug arrests to community events and public safety presentations. 

Cripps, who is now chief of police, noted Beau helped bring arrests and convictions of numerous suspects who had come to establish the town’s reputation as a “drug haven” in the years after Porterdale Mill closed in the historic town in the 1970s.

“Beau was an exceptional police dog,” Cripps said.

The work helped give new residents the confidence to come in and change its reputation as they rehabilitated many of the historic houses in the former mill town.

According to a proclamation the city council approved Thursday, July 15, Beau was a city of Porterdale K-9 Officer when he worked with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

During that time, Beau “identified the sum of $220,000 in cash that was seized as drug funds, resulting in $58,000 being awarded to the Porterdale Police Department,” the proclamation stated.

In Porterdale, the K-9 officer “assisted in multiple searches for missing residents, multiple drug enforcement actions both within the city of Porterdale and with surrounding law enforcement agencies.” 

It stated that Beau also “especially enjoyed working with the community, actively engaging the public and participating in Public Safety Days and school events, including Red Ribbon Week events and FFA camp events with the children of the community.

“K-9 Officer Beau rode in a place of honor during annual Porterdale Christmas Parades,” it stated.

After 10 years of service with two different agencies, Beau retired from law enforcement to a life in the Cripps household. Holly Cripps said he died in 2016.

Jason Cripps said Beau was the inspiration for the nonprofit he and wife Holly founded and operate called We Ride To Provide.

It is a K-9 officer memorial organization that hosts an annual service in Porterdale honoring fallen police dogs. It also has donated first aid kits to K-9 officers around the world, Jason Cripps said. 

The K-9 Beau Memorial Dog Park is tentatively planned for a September grand opening near the city’s nature preserve on the banks of the Yellow River, said City Manager Frank Etheridge. 

Etheridge said city officials still have work to do on the site, including adding mulch, making sure grass is growing and adding equipment needed at a dog park like garbage cans and doggie bag stations.

This story was updated to correct K-9 Sgt. Officer Beau's date of death to 2016. The resolution adopted by the Porterdale City Council on July 15, 2021, incorrectly stated K-9 Sgt. Officer Beau died in December 2013.

K-9 Officer Beau
Porterdale City Council voted to name the new dog park for K-9 Sgt. Beau which served with the city's police department from 2008 to 2013. (Special | Jason Cripps)
Beau resolution