Three Rivers K-9 dies, fundraising starts for new dog
Three Rivers Police K-9 Anjia’s record of captures and “going nose-to-nose” with those on the wrong side of the law earned her a co-recipient title of Police Officer of the Year Award in 2008.
Now, $1,400 in drug forfeitures money captured in St. Joseph County has been given as seed money to start a community fundraising for Anjia’s replacement.
In September, Anjia was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. On Sept. 30, Anjia died at age 8 ½, having served as the partner of Three Rivers Police Officer Matt Stark.
St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney John McDonough said, via a news release issued Monday, the cost of obtaining another K-9 with specialized skills will be $10,000. “That’s why I’m asking the community for help,” McDonough said, and why he started the effort with the $1,400 seed money.
“Anjia was instrumental in working numerous narcotics cases, including marijuana grow operations, meth labs and cocaine distribution rings,” McDonough said.
“Anjia was also responsible for the capture and arrest of many fugitives. She captured felons who had run and prevented even more from making the decision to flee,” he said.
On July 20, a jail escapee suspect was spotted in Three Rivers and ran from police until Anjia “gave a stern, warning bark. The fugitive responded by turning and running to officers with his hands in the air,” McDonough’s statement read in part.
Anjia joined another Three Rivers K-9, Bedo and partner Officer Tom Hicks, who continues to work on the force. Two K-9s give Three Rivers and St. Joseph County a K-9 officer available every night, McDonough said.
Charleston City Council has authorized the purchase of 20 new protective vests to be used by the Charleston Police SWAT team.
The vests, which will be purchased from Central Lake Armor Express, will cost $24,600 total.
Police Chief Brent Webster told members of council’s Finance Committee on Monday that the new vests will be more like armor. They will have shoulder guards and groin protection.
During the meeting, councilman Marc Weintraub said the cost of the vests is not his biggest concern, but that he wants to make sure the ones purchased are the right ones for the team.
“This is not an area where I’m interested in cutting costs,” he told Webster. “Are these vests the ones they want, and do they meet the highest specifications?”
Webster said the SWAT captain was happy with the choice of gear.
In a time when the city is closely watching every cent of the budget, Mayor Danny Jones said he doesn’t want to pinch pennies when it comes to protective gear for the crew.
“The SWAT team gets a lot more exposure to danger because of the nature of what they do,” Jones said. “They need more protection.”
Four other bids for the vests were denied. They ranged from $22,800 to $33,980.
The vests for the SWAT team are different than the vests issued to other officers on the city’s police force.
On Sept. 13, Charleston Patrolman Jerry Alan Jones, 27, died from a gunshot wound to his chest after a bullet struck him just above his protective vest. Jones was killed by friendly fire when fellow officers shot at a suspect who had led them on a chase. The suspect, 31-year-old Brian Good, also was killed.
Two Somerville police officers were honored at Monday’s town council meeting for going above and beyond the call of duty.
These officers saved a paralyzed man from his burning home early Sunday morning.
They were originally on their way to assist Sheriff’s deputies on a different call, but they got lost and came across the burning home.
Most people would run away when they see flames, but Officers Steve Estes and Brian Soloman aren’t most people.
“We saw what we thought was a funny looking porch light. And it was an actual fire,” Officer Estes said.
“It was unlocked fortunately. We went on back and I yelled, ‘Is anybody in the residence, is anybody in?’ Heard a voice from the back said, ‘I’m back here,’” Officer Soloman said.
“Smoke was so bad, I dropped to the floor to get a breath, I jumped back up and I said come on, ‘We’ve got to go,’ and he said, “I can’t walk,’ Estes said.
“At this time, Estes, came in, carrying the guy in his arms, he looked like Superman for a second there, something out of the movies,” Soloman said.
“I made it about three feet from the door and that’s where we went down at. And Officer Soloman got Mr. Brown and got Mr. Brown out,” Estes said.
Their heroic efforts saved the life of 44-year-old Dewell Brown, who was home alone and is a paraplegic.
The officers were honored by the mayor, town council and an extremely proud Chief of Police.
“It’s rare that you ever actually get to thank a man for setting his life aside to save another man’s life, and so that is what they did,” said Chief Joe Mann.
Perhaps the proudest of all is Officer Soloman’s beaming five-year-old daughter Ava.
“I think he did a great job,” she said.
But Officer Soloman said a greater power put them in the right place, at the right time.
“We missed the original call, and I’m glad we did because we did something bigger, we got to pull a guy out, and he gets to keep on living,” Soloman said.
Brown’s neighbor, 46-year-old Michael Allen Groves, is charged with arson. He’s being held in the Morgan County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
A police officer who used to patrol the streets of several Cambria County communities has given a second chance at life to the woman he plans to spend the rest of his life with.
Brett Lysinger, a 1998 graduate of Bishop Carroll High School and former police officer in South Fork, Portage and Cresson boroughs and Summerhill Township, has donated one of his kidneys to his fiancee, Ashley Campbell.
For Lysinger, 29, now living and working as a full-time police officer in Chestertown, Md., giving up a kidney was the only way he could rescue Campbell from the three days a week, three hours a day dialysis she had to endure.
“The first time I met her, she told me about her problems,” Lysinger said in an interview from his home near northern Maryland’s eastern shore.
“I said I’d check it out to see if I was a match,” he said.
That was in early 2008, three years after Lysinger pulled up stakes, leaving his local police work and full-time job as a dispatcher at the Cambria County 911 center and relocated to Maryland for something he really loves – law enforcement.
He endured a full year of testing at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and admits to being taken aback when doctors said his kidney should work just fine for Campbell.
“I never expected in a million years I’d be a match. But they said there was no doubt I was a match,” Lysinger said. “I never had a second thought. There was no way I was going to back out; I’d made a promise.”
The surgery to remove one of his kidneys and transplant it into Campbell took place July 16 in a double procedure which went as expected, doctors told the couple.
Lysinger was off work for about four weeks.
In six weeks, Campbell was back to the job in guest relations at the Comfort Suites in Chestertown.
Campbell said she has no idea how her kidneys failed three years ago, but one day she was fine and the next she was in the hospital looking at double failure with a life of dialysis.
Speculation is that when Campbell – at age 14 – contracted a bad case of streptococcus, responsible for a wide variety of infections, the damage may have resulted. No one knows for sure.
“I never had kidney infections, I don’t know how my kidneys failed,” she said. “But I know I love him. He’s everything to me. He’s my soul mate.”
The couple plan to wed April 10 in Portage.
“He gave me life. He did what he wanted to do, and we’re all grateful to him,” Campbell said of Lysinger.