Roko, the Canton police dog who served from 2000 until retiring in 2007, died Saturday from an infection, Police Chief Dan Taylor reported Tuesday at a meeting of the city council’s Mechanical Committees.
Taylor said the death was unfortunate. He noted Roko’s handler was police Sgt. Mike Eveland.
Taylor also noted a 10-week program for the police department’s latest K-9 officer, Jack, will start Monday. He said the dog will be trained for narcotics investigations, building searches, apprehension and other duties.
The police department’s current active K-9 officer is named Halo. Both dogs will be in service after Jack completes his training.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office paused Thursday morning to honor the department’s first K-9 officer, King, who had to be euthanized last week after his vital organs started failing.
“We’re real proud of him,” Sheriff Charles Roper said. “ We’re going to miss him.”
During the memorial service, officers shared stories about the 9-year-old black German shepherd who had been on the force for eight years.
“His first night on the job he found eight pounds of marijuana,” Roper said.
King was trained to detect narcotics, track suspects and protect his human partner, Kelly Montgomery.
“He was very faithful to his handler,” Roper said.
The dog also led investigators to recover items dumped in the woods from a burglary in Jasper County.
Over the years, the dog touched the lives of numerous schoolchildren and young people, Roper said.
The sheriff is currently exploring funding options to buy a new K-9 officer for the department.
King cost $8,500, which covered his training and veterinary bills when he was first purchased.
“He well paid for himself,” Roper said.
In July 2008, King placed first in a training school competition in Vidalia.
A memorial garden is being built at his burial site in front of the sheriff’s office building, where he was laid to rest. His memorial service concluded with the playing of taps and a final radio call announcing he was out of service.
“We really considered him one of us,” Roper said.
It’s not everyday you see close to 100 police officers suited up in SWAT gear all in one place.
But that was the case in Niles Township Thursday at the Michiana SWAT challenge.
Some of the officers say they take the competition pretty seriously, but also have a good time comparing their skills.
Cpl. Chad Odle with Elkhart Police Department says, “You get paid for 8 hours to come out here and shoot guns and play around in the woods, I mean who wouldn’t like it.”
Cpl. Odle and his team are just one of the many police departments who look forward to the SWAT challenge every year.
Each team tests their physical and mental ability in 3 different courses, an obstacle, skills, and handgun course.
Cpl. Tracy Harker with the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department says, ”The competition is pretty high amongst all the officers. Every body comes out here and there’s not really a lot of joking around or anything like that.”
Cpl. Harker says the physical aspect is pretty tough.
The officers are required to run a quarter mile through the mud and woods, carry a 100 pound dummy, knock down barricaded doors, and shoot at targets.
All while carrying 25 pounds of equipment and trying to stay focused.
Capt. Jim Millin with the Niles Police Department says, ”Mentally, you need to prepare yourself. When you have shots 50 to 100 yards, a sniper is 200 yards. If you’re not thinking about it, that makes a big difference in the end.”
But it’s not just about the competition.
Officers say they also get to compare notes on what’s happening on their streets.
Capt. Millin says, ”Things seem to happen in one area and migrate to another. So you might hear from one team we’re experiencing this, they barricaded a door this way or used this method, so you need to think about that.”
At the end of the day, they’ll admit, it’s nice to know you won.
“We work with some of these teams out here, so it’s nice to come out and play around if you with other teams, but it’s always fun to go home and know you beat the other team” says Cpl. Odle.
11 teams competed in the this year’s challenge. They’re scored on their accuracy and speed of the course.
Indiana State Police took home first place for the second year in a row.
The South Bend Police Department came in second, with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department finishing third.
A teenager who is determined to become a policeman after watching his mum attacked by an ex-partner is up for a top award for his efforts to show that youths – and men – are not all bad.
Max Whittred, 13, has been nominated for a Norfolk and Suffolk Young People of the Year award for his work with the police youth panel.
The youngster joined the group, which aims to improve the relationship between the police and young people, late last year because he wanted to get involved with the force.
His interest in the police began aged six when he witnessed his mum, Georgina Whittred, being physically and mentally abused by a former partner.
The teenager, who lives in the Aylsham area, said: “He used to beat my mum up. He was really nasty to my mum and it made me think to myself ‘Is this what all men are like?’ But it’s not.
“I love the idea of cleaning up the streets and having a positive attitude instead of a negative one.”
Mrs Whittred said Max saw some harrowing sights which left him suffering night terrors – but had always tried to protect his mum.
The 28-year-old, who has been married to Adrian Whittred, 29, for nearly four years, said: “[My partner] threw me down the stairs. Max witnessed that.
“Max is very fearless. He would try to intervene. He was only six at the time. I would take the argument away from him, it would turn nasty, and Max would ring 999 or my mum to get help.”
But Max, who has two sisters Sapphira, six, and Willow, three, has decided to use the experience positively and has high aspirations for a future career with the police.
He would eventually like to work as a homicide detective in America.
In the meantime he has been volunteering with the youth panel every six weeks and will soon be helping out with a “mystery shopper” investigation by the police.
He added: “At the end of June I went to Newmarket to speak to people to do with the terrorism side of the force. We discussed issues with young Muslims today that have experienced problems with the police and how life is for them after 9/11.”
Max was nominated for a May Gurney Young People of the Year award, which is supported by Norfolk and Suffolk police, by his mum and grandmother Sue Wymer.
She said she was proud of her grandson. “In these days of ‘the young gone bad’, Max is a shining example of why the youngsters need encouragement and praise to attain a good future and be a valued member of society,” she said.
Nominations for the awards close in late October ahead of a ceremony in November and winners will receive a slice of a £4,000 prize fund.
For more information or to nominate someone aged 10-25 visit http://www.yopey.org
The Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department has added some bite to its force.
An explosives-detection and person-tracking Belgian malinois named Bobo is the newest member of the department and the first acquisition in its nascent K-9 unit.
Bobo was one of two police dogs left without work after the Vassar Police Department dissolved its K-9 unit because of funding issues in June. A narcotics-sniffing yellow Labrador, Linus, went to Raisin Township, near Tecumseh in southeast Michigan, said Vassar Police Chief Dave Manier.
“We got $2,500 and some equipment,” Manier said of the trade. The 5-year-old dog was worth about $3,000.
Bobo’s transfer to Saginaw County took place Aug. 20, Manier said.
With 810 square miles to cover in Saginaw County, Sheriff William Federspiel said a canine unit is a necessity.
“The protection we can offer the courthouse, banks, schools and hospitals is invaluable,” Federspiel said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Toby Sewell, who has worked with the department for more than four years, will work with Bobo. Fifteen-year Deputy Kirt Shields will serve as a narcotics detection officer.
Both officers will begin a five-week training session the last week of September at Mid-Michigan Kennels in Eaton Rapids. A narcotics dog will be chosen for Shields upon his arrival there.
“The canines are specially matched by personality traits to the officers assigned to them and are already fully trained,” Federspiel said.
Bobo and Sewell are expected to be ready for service together by the first week of November.
The Vassar Police Department acquired Bobo with a Homeland Security grant of $12,100 through a partnership the Wolverine Human Services juvenile detention facility in Vassar.
Maintaining the unit became cost prohibitive when Wolverine could only continue funding about a third of the $86,000 yearly program that included wages for the officer. Previously, Wolverine covered about 75 percent.
Federspiel said Bobo came at no cost to the Sheriff’s Department and will be supported through training funding that already is set aside. The narcotics canine will be self-supported through a forfeiture account funded through narcotics seizures, Federspiel said.
Bosco seemed to be happy for the time he got to spend outside his hospital room Thursday afternoon, especially when his partner, Zanesville Police Officer Mike Schiele, showed up for a visit.
Both Schiele and Bosco, Schiele’s K-9 partner, were shot Sunday night when Schiele attempted to serve a warrant on Dominick Conley for assault and criminal damaging. Conley was arrested in Canton the next day and has been charged with 11 felony counts. His case is waiting to be presented to a Muskingum County grand jury, possibly next week.
Schiele was shot once in the left rear side and is recuperating at home.
However, the prognosis for Bosco, who was shot twice, still is uncertain, said his doctor, Amy Butler at Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital. Bosco took one shot to the neck, which hit the top of his spinal column and shattered, and one to the chest.
“A spinal cord injury is extremely, extremely unpredictable,” Butler said. “The best we can do is continue to monitor him, give him rehabilitation, and the next three to six weeks are going to show us how much improvement he will make.”
Butler said the bullets will remain in Bosco because removing them would be too risky.
“Right now they’re not causing any further problems,” Butler said. “Taking the bullets out could cause more issues, and we don’t want those.”
Bosco remains in guarded condition and is unable to move his front legs. He does, however, seem to have some movement in his back legs, Butler said.
“Monday, Bosco was paralyzed in all four legs,” she said as she watched Bosco receive rehabilitation exercises and a massage in the yard of the hospital. “Now, with the help of a sling and some equipment, he’s supporting a little of his own weight and able to move more.”
The way Bosco was cared for is one of the reasons he is progressing.
“He’s in great condition and is a very sweet dog. He’s pretty much taken over all our hearts,” Butler said. “Some police dogs come in, and we’re careful with them, but Bosco has just been wonderful. He’s very special, that’s for sure.”
Butler said the bullets would have killed most dogs, but because Bosco was so well conditioned and muscular, he just might recover from his wounds.
“Had he been any smaller, the bullet that hit his spine would have killed him,” Butler said.
Seeming to be completely aware of all around him, Bosco doesn’t mind being spoon fed special food or all the pats, rubs and kisses from his medical staff and Schiele.
Bosco’s hospital crib is surrounded by stuffed animals and cards from well-wishers, Butler said. When Schiele arrived Thursday, he, too, had a gift for Bosco — a stuffed animal as well as his badge.
Schiele spent the rest of his visit with Bosco outside stroking him and softly speaking to him. Bosco watched Schiele’s every move.
Butler said she is hoping when the swelling goes down in Bosco’s neck, he might get more feeling in his legs.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Butler said.
Schiele didn’t want to talk about the shooting. He said his attention is centered on Bosco’s recovery and that he appreciates all the support from the community.
The Fraternal Order of Police and the North Terrace Church are planning a fundraising dinner at the church for the department’s K-9 fund.
The fund, including Bosco’s care, is supported completely by donations. Lt. Bill Shaw said the department has been flooded with calls about where or how to donate money.
“People all over the community have told us they have a feeling that Bosco is their dog, too, and want to help,” Shaw said. “We feel there is not a better way for people to bond and have a sense of community than having everyone join and share a meal together,” he said about the upcoming fundraiser.
A date in September is being discussed, and the Times Recorder will have more information when it becomes available. A silent auction also is being planned for the evening, and anyone with items to donate can call Shaw at 455-0700, Ext. 350.
A Minnesota state trooper’s squad car totaled in a crash near Cloquet involving a suspected drunken driver has been taken to the Minnesota State Fair to be part of the Minnesota State Patrol exhibit.
The 2006 Chevrolet Impala was struck on the passenger’s side by a 1998 Subaru Legacy driven by Duluth dentist Timothy Langguth, 61, of Moose Lake.
State Trooper Erick Sjodin was parked in a median along Interstate 35 shortly before 12:30 a.m. Saturday looking for a suspected drunken driver when Langguth’s northbound car crossed the median and struck Sjodin’s car.
Sjodin, 31, was treated for minor injuries. Langguth remains in St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth recovering from injuries including a broken leg. Both cars were totaled.
The fair opened Thursday and runs through Labor Day. The squad car will be part of a special display Monday when troopers meet the public and their equipment is on display. The State Patrol placed the badly damaged squad car in the exhibit to show the dangers that troopers face and the impact of a collision like the one early Saturday, Sgt. Mark Baker said.
“Most state troopers can expect to have their vehicles struck once or twice during their careers,” Baker said. “But this is absolutely the worst crash I’ve ever seen.”
No charges have been filed against Langguth. Baker said the State Patrol and the Carlton County attorney’s office are awaiting results of blood tests, which could take up to two weeks.