A police officer who doubles as an Army captain and a dog from the Czech Republic are likely to team up as the latest K-9 Unit at the Collierville Police Department.
Officer Matthew Bialy is the department’s new canine handler.
A dog named Leno, like the television talk show host, is auditioning to become the officer’s four-legged partner.
Bialy, 36, is an imposing 6-foot-2. Leno is less so at 58 tan-and-black pounds.
As a Belgian Malinois, the dog is a popular breed with police and the military, said Lt. Jeff Dwyer, who oversees the unit.
“They are agile, not as big as a German shepherd, but they have an intense drive… a lot of focus and are very trainable dogs,” Dwyer said.
Bialy, a native of New Jersey who once ran a medical supply company, said he’s been in the Army about 15 years. He is currently assigned to the Arkansas National Guard.
He joined the Collierville police force in 2005, after returning from a combat tour as a lieutenant and infantry platoon leader in Iraq.
Collierville was home to his wife’s parents. He and Kristin have a 19-month-old son.
In 2008, he returned to a less violent Iraq for a tour as a captain and company commander.
“The second time was a lot better than the first,” he said.
Since childhood, Bialy said he’s had two Bullmastiffs, a black Labrador and currently a German shepherd named Taz.
“I’ve always grown up with dogs,” he said, and wanted the opportunity to team up with one on the job.
Born and raised most of his 18 months in Europe, Leno stood out among eight dogs put through their paces at Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., Dwyer and Bialy said. The dog cost $7,000.
A final hurdle for Leno before he nails the job will be getting a clean bill of health from a specialist veterinarian.
Bialy boards the police dog at his home. He and his canine partner will head for additional training at the Southaven Police Department.
Narcotics detection will be their main focus, Bialy said.
Collierville has been without a K-9 Unit since September 2008, when the previous canine handler, Robin Snyder, resigned. The police dog Yahn had reached retirement age and left with Snyder.
BY Kevin McKenzie
After shots were fired by a passenger in a sports utility vehicle in downtown New Bern Saturday, Officer James Rowe with the New Bern Police Department K-9 Unit released his dog on the man.
The dog jumped through the window of the parked vehicle at the passenger, which drew a cheer from a crowd of onlookers gathered for one of several demonstrations by K-9 unit handlers as part of the MumFest 2009 festivities.
Rowe, senior handler and trainer for the K-9 unit, as well as Officer Thomas Carter demonstrated the obedience as well as the search and assistance abilities of Bak, a German shepherd from Czechoslovakia and Zorin, a Belgian Malinois.
In one demonstration, Bak searched four closed suitcases laid out in a row on the parking lot for marijuana. He scratches, barks and bites in the area where he has discovered drugs, Rowe said, as he is an “aggressive alert” dog trained to react that way.
In another simulation, Zorin, searched for one of the officers, who was hiding inside one of several large white boxes. Zorin trotted swiftly around the boxes, and then he barked and jumped on the box when he found the officer.
Then the crowd watched while Carter demonstrated how the dogs are trained in verbal and hand signals, commanding Zorin to sit, lie down and come. The verbal commands are issued in German, Carter said.
New Bern resident Owen Rose said the demonstration was an “awesome sight.”
The 7-year-old had stopped to watch the dogs with his parents after watching a man make balloon animals and the balancing and stunts of the Kenya Safari Acrobats.
He said the dogs’ abilities were “cool,” and that he was startled by the gunshot in the traffic stop demonstration.
“It would need to take a lot of training,” he said.
Claudia Rose commented that the traffic stop really showed the dog’s agility.
“We were just talking about the amount of training it takes, that these dogs go through with their handlers,” she said.
New Bern resident Mel Taylor had an opportunity to pet both Bak and Zorin after watching them demonstrate their abilities.
“They’re just beautiful dogs, highly trained and really good-natured,” she said. “I’ve got a soft spot for animals anyways, and I think it’s great that we’ve got such outstanding people protecting us in our police force and in our K-9 unit.”
By Laura Oleniacz
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is donating two K-9 unit dogs to Detroit – the city that gave him his first Super Bowl championship.
Roethlisberger, who will be in town Sunday to play the Lions at Ford Field, will pay for two dogs that will replace a pair of retiring dogs from the Detroit Police Department at the end of the year.
Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans said he is grateful.
“We are deeply appreciative to the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for this grant,” Evans said. “In these difficult budgetary times, we must rely more and more on outside sources of funding to support our officers’ efforts. This grant will provide our officers additional resources to protect the citizens of Detroit.”
The star quarterback is the founder of The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, which distributes grants to police and fire departments in Pittsburgh and cities of each regular season road opponent for the Steelers.
“It’s incredible to see the strong bond that is formed between the dogs and their partners both on the job and at home,” Roethlisberger said in a statement.
BY BEN SCHMITT