HEFLIN, Ala. (WIAT) — The Heflin Police Department is mourning the loss of one of their own after a K-9 officer was killed during a traffic stop.

K-9 Beni, along with his partner Maj. Danny Turner, was performing a traffic stop along I-20 Wednesday night, according to HPD Chief Ross McGlaughn. Beni was sent to perform an open-air sniff of the vehicle in question when he became over-excited and was hit by a passing car after running into oncoming traffic. He was 7-years-old.

Chief McGlaughn called Beni an important part of the police department and his death was “hard to put into words.”

“He was one of us,” the chief said. “He was very lovable and sociable.”

Beni had served with HPD for the past four years as a dual-purpose K-9, alerting police of the odor of narcotics as well as tracking and apprehension work.

“[He] was responsible for taking an untold amount of narcotics off of the street,” a Facebook post from the department read.