TUSCON, Ariz. (CNN/KGUN) -- An Arizona police dog left in an overheated patrol car died in early July. Now, Tucson residents are asking could a heat alarm system saved Jeg's life?
The system is called a "K-9 heat alarm." it's installed in law enforcement vehicles like this pima county sheriff's department truck.
Here's how it works: sensors track the indoor temperature. Its 62 degrees inside right now and a K-9 is cooling down in the back.
Now, watch this demonstration of what happens when it get too hot inside. The horn honks, lights flash, and the windows automatically open, as a fan starts up to cool the K-9.
Why the noises and light? Dep. Eric Maldonado with the Pima County Sheriff's Dept. says, "I mean, I may not have access to my vehicle. I may be far away from my vehicle. It will alert others that something's going on."
K-9 Deputy Eric Maldonado says officers can then move in to help the dog. He says the alarm system is constantly running, and shuts down when the vehicle is turned off. Maldonado says, "We always verify the dog's not in the vehicle. The dog is part of your equipment, if you will. However, wherever you go, the dog should go."
These systems are in every sheriff's department k-9 unit. Does this alarm save dogs' lives? Maldonado says, "Absolutely. It's critical, especially when you work in climate like in Tucson."
Was Jeg, the DPS K-9 who died in Tuscon, in a car equipped with this system? Does the department use this life-saving technology? And did it somehow fail? Many questions which will remain unanswered.
Nine On Your Side asked DPS, which responded with a statement. In general, quote, "Those are the systems in place currently. Due to the ongoing investigative aspect of this incident, we are not going to speak on it until it is concluded."