Under a bright sun and cloudless sky, Dunbar police and K-9 units from neighboring police departments gathered with citizens to honor and say goodbye to one of their own.
Lt. Alley died Aug. 19 while on duty with her partner, Lt. Scott Elliott. Upon her death, Alley, a Belgian Malinois-German shepherd mix, had served with the Dunbar Police Department for 10 years.
Elliott and Alley had a routine when he would stop to refuel his cruiser, Dunbar Chief Earl Whittington said.
He would get out and open her door so that she could get out and play while he pumped gas. When he finished, he would call for her, and she would return to the vehicle.
On Aug. 19, Elliott opened the door without looking and went about his routine. When he went to call her, he noticed he didn't see her anywhere, the chief said.
When he looked inside, he saw she had never gotten out. Alley had died on duty.
Whittington spoke fondly of the canine Wednesday at the city's police and fire memorial at City Hall. Her career as a police dog started off with a bang. On her first day on the job back in 2003, she found a small bag of heroin in a vehicle search.
In her biggest bust, she sniffed out 90 pounds of marijuana while searching a truck, something the city's police officers were proud of because it meant the drugs never made it onto the street.
She was called on in many occasions to search for drugs and people, but she also went to the city's schools - sometimes to search lockers for drugs and other times just to visit the students.
Whittington said he had a little bit of concern sending dogs to the schools, fearing a student would get bitten, but Alley put his mind at ease, immediately switching into "play mode" with the students.
"You could walk up to Alley and as long as you weren't a threat, she didn't take you as a threat," Whittington said. "She knew when there was a threat, and she knew when not to act on a threat."
He said she would come out of the car and be swarmed by small children. In that setting, she would lie down, lick everyone within reach and enjoy the attention.