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New Chattanooga police cadets got a toothy welcome to the department Wednesday during the second week of their academy training.
Cadets, wearing a protective “bite suit,” took turns screaming, running, then being tackled and bitten by police dogs.
The trainees spent a day “building confidence” at the Ooltewah High School ROTC course, performing physical training drills, running the obstacle course and training with K-9 officers.
“This is to get them confidence in themselves and their class,” said Lt. Stan Allen, training director.
This is the first Chattanooga police academy in two years. The police department has about 420 officers, or 65 officers short of what officials say they need. In addition, more than 40 officers are eligible to retire at any time, Chief Bobby Dodd said.
For one thing, it almost wasn’t Allen who got shot. The Anchorage police officer was training a recruit, who would have been the one in the driver’s seat in Fairview in the early morning hours of Jan. 9. By chance, the recruit had been called in for duty with the National Guard.
“Statistically, there are golden angels around him now,” Allen, 47, said in a recent interview at his home. “You could say lightning doesn’t strike twice.”
For another thing, Allen was hit a half-dozen times in the arms and torso and, though he may never fully recover, he lived to talk about it.
Allen, an 8 1/2-year APD veteran who normally worked the night shift in Spenard, was on Medfra Street responding to a family dispute about 2 a.m. that day. He’d gone to his patrol car to grab a camera to photograph the victim when a vehicle pulled up beside his and opened fire, he said.
Alaska’s Homeless Problem Is an Alcohol Problem
Until my recent trip to Anchorage, Alaska, I had never heard the term “Chronic Public Inebriate,” yet in Alaska the word “inebriate” is spoken everywhere. It is so grafted in Anchorage’s culture that even the homeless call themselves inebriates. At first it bothered me, but I soon learned that Anchorage’s homeless problem is very complex, caused by severe alcohol addictions.
People who are normal drinkers and have never touched life with an alcoholic often think quitting booze is a choice. Unfortunately, the nature of alcoholism takes away any free will, making the alcoholic as dependent on alcohol as he is on air.
An empty beer pitcher labeled “donations” sat on the wooden bar and rock music shook the walls Sunday night at Chilkoot Charlie’s in Midtown as a group of local bands launched a five-hour benefit concert for the Anchorage police officer shot Jan. 9.
The event, scheduled to end at 10 p.m., was one of several efforts to help Officer Jason Allen’s family pay expenses or reward tipsters who lead police to his shooter.
Allen was shot five times while sitting in uniform in his squad car at about 2 a.m. in residential Fairview neighborhood. Police believe Allen was targeted because he’s a police officer. As of Sunday, they have not announced any arrests in the case.
“I’ve always felt safe here and to hear something like that happen, it kind of hits home a little bit,” said Chris Cardenas, co-owner of Alcatraz Records, and an organizer for Sunday’s event. Roughly 40 people — some perched on beer-keg stools — watched the band Art of Treason early in the concert. Along with collecting donations, the benefit sought to raise money for Allen’s family by auctioning donated items such as day-spa gift certificates and a night at the Hilton.
The Anchorage Police Department Employees Association is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of Allen’s attackers. The Anchorage Education Association, a teachers union, announced Thursday it would contribute $1,000 to the reward and family funds.
The public can contribute to the Jason Allen Reward Fund or the Jason Allen Family Support Fund at any Key Bank branch, according to APDEA.
By Kyle Hopkins
Even the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Department K-9 units are feeling the pinch of the county’s budget crisis.
The self-funded program operates outside the department’s general-fund appropriations, and, like the sheriff’s coffers, is running low on funds, says Mark Allen, who oversees the seven-officer unit.
Compounding the problem is that handlers have also seen their wages decrease as a result of furloughs the sheriff implemented to compensate for the $250,000 drop in his funding. Handlers say they inevitably end up shouldering a portion of their dog’s expenses, whether it’s a bag of dog food, a special treat or a piece of equipment. The deputies also devote a lot of time off the clock to their dogs; Allen said a minimum of 16 hours a month is spent just on training.
The K-9 unit fund depends entirely upon donations and fundraisers, the most recent being a reverse raffle held earlier this year, said Sgt. Jim Kemmerle, who handles Cain, a German shepherd. Private donors and civic groups help with donations throughout the year. In particular, Kemmerle said Harpersfield resident Charles Hamm Jr. has been a “godsend” to the program.
The fund spends about $1,600 a year for dog food and $2,100 for basic vet care. Hundreds more are need for training and handling equipment, plus modifications to cruisers. A “green” dog can cost as much as $6,500. By doing the training in-house and off the clock, deputies spare the program that cost, which can run into thousands of dollars.
Allen, who trains working dogs as a business, says the cost of dogs has escalated since the terrorist attacks eight years ago. Bomb-sniffing dogs are in high demand as part of the homeland security effort. Further, dogs are used by troops in Afghanistan and Iraq in a variety of support roles.
“There’s just a high demand for dogs of that kind,” Allen said.
Fortunately, the program has not had to acquire any dogs recently. The Sheriff’s Department has six dogs on the road and one in the jail, where the animal serves as a deterrent to inmate aggression and contraband.
The K-9s that work the road are dual-duty. Deputy Tony Mino said his 3-year-old Malinois (Belgian shepherd) performs building searches, sniffs out narcotics, tracks suspects and searches articles. Most important for Mino and his family, Nala is another line of defense.
“With us being in the largest county in the state, there are times when the K-9 partner is more valuable than a second unit,” Mino says. “No one wants to fight a dog. When they see a K-9 unit pull up, a lot of fight goes out of them. A dog is a good deterrent.”
The Sheriff Department’s K-9 units are often called upon by the Ohio State Highway Patrol for assistance, and sheriff’s deputies who don’t have a dog often call upon the K-9 unit for backup.
“You can’t beat having a dog,” Mino said.
Mino’s family has taken up the challenge of raising money for the dog, which could be called upon to put his life on the line for the deputy. The Girl Scout troop to which Mino’s daughter belongs recently signed on as a sponsor. His wife closed a deal with Pet Supplies Plus to provide four bags of dog food a month through June 2010. The Invisible Fence Co. in Chesterland will donate $50 to the program for every system sold as a result of a referral from cards distributed by the deputies.
Mino will take Nala to the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday to demonstrate K-9 capabilities and talk about the program’s financial needs with Covered Bridge Festival visitors. The group would like to attract corporate and civic-group donors who would commit to support the program, but any amount of money would be appreciated, said Mino.
If people want to donate food, the dogs are on a very specific diet: Purina Pro Plan Lamb and Rice.
Although the fund pays for active-duty animals, once a dog reaches the end of his or her career, it usually falls upon the officer to care for it during its twilight years.
Mino’s first dog, Armor, was taken out of service after surgery to fuse a section of his broken spine, failed to restore him to working status. The 6-year-old dog is part of the family.
“You couldn’t get rid of a family member,” Mino says of Armor. “I couldn’t get rid of a retired dog.”
Allen has been involved with K-9 dogs for 17 years and says the work comes with the inevitable heartbreak of losing one.
“It really hits you when you lose a dog that you’ve lived with, worked with. It’s a part of your life,” Allen said.
BY CARL E. FEATHER
The death of a crime fighter: K9 Lobo hit by a car
Riverview Lieutenant Kyle Cockream with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says, “The handler’s life depends on that dog and that dog’s life depends on that handler. They work as a team.”
On Sunday morning half of that team was gone. Lobo, a Hillsborough County sheriff’s office canine, was being boarded with several other canines from the crime fighting K9 unit at the Boyette Animal Hospital in Riverview. The facility is located at 10931 Boyette Road.
Lt. Cockream says “The handlers were out of town at a training session.”
Somehow Lobo got out of his kennel and jumped a seven foot fence. Someone spotted him early Sunday morning and called the sheriff’s office. Cockream says “We got a report from a citizen that they saw a large German shepherd wandering around the area that appeared to have a silver badge hanging from his collar.”
Nearly two dozen deputies searched for Lobo and the sheriff’s office sent out a helicopter to search too. By ten Sunday morning Lobo was discovered near Interstate 75 just north of the Gibsonton exit. Bryan Anderson was there and says “Well the dog came trotting in from the ditch walking in towards the freeway like it was disoriented like it didn’t know where it was going and this woman in the Toyota swerved to try to miss the dog and hit the dog and ended up facing southbound.”
The woman was visibly shaken and upset at the scene over what happened. Meanwhile the sheriff’s office released a statement explaining that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is saddened by the loss saying the department “Expresses it’s condolences to Deputy Jason Allen and the entire canine section.”
The department also remembered Lobo’s contributions back on February 17th. They point to Lobo’s specialty which was drug detection. Authorities say Lobo helped in a case that led to four men being arrested for allegedly having nearly a thousand pounds of marijuana in the back of a U-Haul truck. The drugs were valued at a million dollars. The bust took place at 4541 Keene Road in Hillsborough County.
Lobo’s handler, Deputy Jason Allen, worked with Lobo for about a year and a half. Lt. Kyle Cockream adds “In our business a canine dog is truly another officer. The deputy spends as much time with that dog as they do with either a co-worker or a family member.”
Chester Police Officer Mark W. Allen Jr. was gunned down near Third and Pusey streets in the early morning hours of Feb. 1, 1902, trying to quell a domestic disturbance.
Allen was the first officer in Delaware County killed in the line of duty.
Doris Burnham Lanyon never knew Allen, her great-uncle, but she grew up hearing stories about the beloved patrolman and how he lived and died.
More importantly, she saw the impact his death had on her family.
“There were no counselors at that time,” said Lanyon, who was closest to Allen’s youngest brother. “I could see how this affected the family.”
Lanyon and her husband, Mike, now live in Lancaster. Since 1998, they’ve returned to Delaware County to attend the annual memorial service, held each year during National Police Week.
“You are not forgotten,” Lanyon said softly, as the procession of white-gloved police officers left St. Katharine Drexel Church in Chester.
Lanyon was one of a number of survivors of fallen law enforcement officers who attended Wednesday’s service. Family members of slain Chester Police Cpl. Michael Beverly filled a church pew, many wearing T-shirts bearing his name.
It was a day to honor Allen and the 35 other officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was also an opportunity to honor the men and women who serve and protect our communities every day.
John J. McKenna, retired Pennsylvania State Police commander and current chief of the Delaware County Criminal Investigation Division, spoke of a police officer’s daily courage and self-sacrifice.
He noted that the U.S. Constitution gives citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. “Without police, these laws and guarantees have no life, no substance,” McKenna said. “These rights and liberties are only made real by the police officer.”
McKenna made his observations based on a 55-year career in law enforcement. Offering a rookie’s prospective on the future of policing was Joseph P. Hart, a part-time Trainer police officer and recipient of the 2008 Jorgan S. Holand Achievement Award, named after the Upper Chichester K-9 officer who died in 1998.
Law enforcement officers from across Delaware County were represented, along with representatives from Delaware State Police and the SEPTA Transit Police.
Accompanied by bagpipers, the line of officers wound its way through the church. Each officer carried a hat symbolizing a fallen officer from their department — from Allen to Upper Darby Officer Dennis McNamara, who was killed Jan. 30, 2002. The church bells rang as each officer’s name was read.
About an hour later, the poignant ceremony was repeated in Rose Tree Park, at the site of a memorial recognizing the fallen heroes.
In Brookhaven Monday night, council presented borough residents Joel Schupp and David Schlott framed resolutions and plaques for assisting an elderly gentleman in a possible life-threatening situation, reported Correspondent Loretta Rodgers.
While introducing a letter he wrote to borough officials, Brookhaven Police Detective Randolph McGoldrick apologized for “procrastinating,” adding that the praise of the heroic actions of two residents was “long overdue.”
McGoldrick said on July 14, 2008, 73-year-old Parkside resident Robert Mickle was being attacked by two large, vicious dogs on Commerce Avenue. The dogs approached the victim from the front and the rear, knocking him down. Mickle suffered a severe bite to the arm, which was bleeding profusely when Schupp arrived at the scene.
“Without any thought to any danger involved, Joel Schupp stopped his truck, intervened and was able to rescue Mr. Mickle from the attack by getting Mr. Mickle into his truck and calling the police for help.”
McGoldrick and Officer Rick Fuller arrived at the scene to find the animals still running loose in the area, which presented a continued hazard.
The borough’s animal control officer was called, but was on a call in Radnor and unavailable.
Schlott, who serves as an animal control officer in several municipalities, was notified and responded immediately. McGoldrick said Schlott captured both dogs and placed them in a fenced area.
“I am proud to say that we have our own Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) in Brookhaven and his name is Dave Schlott,” said McGoldrick. “He used a stick to go after the alpha dog and then came back and got the other dog. If Dave had not shown up, there would have been injuries to others and possibly to Officer Fuller and myself.”
Springfield Police Chief Joseph Daly may not have taken his post until January, but he didn’t hesitate to commend his officers for outstanding service, which took place before his tenure. Daly presented commendations at the commissioners’ March 10 meeting to three officers credited with lifesaving efforts.
Supported by many of his colleagues, friends and family, Officer Nicholas Paytas received official commendation. Sgt. Michael Vaughan and Officer Stephen Hurwitz were similarly recognized for their direct contribution in the event.
In November 2008, Paytas responded to a 3 a.m. call from a frantic mother who found her son, 18, unresponsive.
The officer had the foresight to respond with the automated external defibrillator, which police routinely put in their vehicles when going out at the start of patrol. The mother was performing CPR without positive results.
Paytas administered the first of two electrical impulses in an effort to revive the victim, who began to breathe on his own. Ambulance personnel delivered a second impulse with the same AED when they arrived.
On-scene ambulance personnel determined the initial deployment by Paytas was the pivotal event that led to the patient’s survival and recovery.
Cop Shop appears Thursday.
Argentine Twp—The Board of Trustees unanimously approved Police Chief Daniel Allen’s request Monday to use approximately $7,000 of drug forfeiture money to beef up its K-9 program. The money will be used to convert a police vehicle over to accommodate the department’s K-9 department and provide certification training.
The police department has two part-time K-9 officers, Doug Fulton and John Gifford. Fulton and his canine partner “Dewey,” a German shepherd, have been together since 2004. Gifford’s canine partner is, “Ken.”
Allen said, between the two officers’ schedules, it should give the township between 16 to 18 days per month of K-9 coverage, on a rotating basis. The chief said this rotating schedule would prevent suspected drug dealers from seeing any distinguishable pattern of when the units are working. He also said the officers are already making seizures and forfeitures without the K-9 program, however, this program is meant to increase those numbers.
Insurance and converting one of the department’s existing Tahoes over is expected to cost approximately $4,200, and two years of certification training is expected to cost $2,740, according to the Allen.
Allen said this would be a pilot program, and this K-9 unit must show results or else it would not continue.
When asked what advantage the K-9 program will provide to the township, Allen said that the scenting ability of humans is not very highly developed. He said people have an estimated 5 million cells used for smelling in a very small area at the back of the nose.
In comparison, dogs have scent cells spread all over a large area and have an estimated 125- to 220-million scent cells, depending on the size of the dog.
“They can use each nostril independently and are good at distinguishing one odor from another, and remembering it,” said Allen. “The part of the brain that receives messages from the nerves of the nose is highly developed and can store up scent information like a computer.
“Given this ability, the use of K-9 in drug enforcement is a huge asset to a department that runs a tightly monitored program.”
Dewey can’t wait to be out on the streets again and he owes it all to the very people he helps put behind bars — drug dealers and users.
With nearly $18,000 in drug forfeiture funds, Argentine Township police will be able to cover training and other costs for its first K-9 dog.
“The problem we are seeing out here is marijuana first and foremost,” Police Chief Daniel Allen said.
“In the evenings and on the weekend, one out of six stops have marijuana in the car, if not more.”
Dewey is trained to detect narcotics and can be a big help in getting pot and other drugs off the street.
And he’s just itching to get back to work.
The 7-year-old German shepherd, — who previously worked with the Linden, Mt. Morris and Byron police departments — hasn’t been on the job for about six months and is getting a bit stir crazy.
“He’s ready to come back,” said Argentine Township Officer Doug Fulton, who owns Dewey. “He’s been driving me nuts. Every day he gets wound up when I Ieave to go to work.”
Dewey spent his first 2 1/2 years learning the ropes in Hungary before arriving in America. He comes to Argentine Township with an impressive service record.
He found 11 pounds of marijuana inside the trunk of a vehicle in Mt. Morris Township and tracked down the suspect, who was hiding inside an abandoned vehicle behind a house.
He also tracked an Alzheimer’s patient who walked out of a Mundy Township house in 30-degree weather.
“He’s a superstar in tracking,” said Fulton, who has been with Dewey since 2004.
Fulton’s four-legged partner knows the job comes with risks. In 2005 Dewey suffered bruised ribs and lacerations after he was kicked repeatedly by a drunken driver who fled police.
Dewey is expected to join Argentine’s police force in April, at a time when more populated and more crime-plagued communities have cut back on dogs. There’s only about a half dozen police dogs in Genesee County, with the closest K-9 in Grand Blanc Township.
Police chiefs who said goodbye to the dogs have stated the program was too expensive or they couldn’t afford to give their full-time officers days off for training.
Argentine Township, though, doesn’t have those same worries because Dewey’s cost will be covered through drug forfeiture funds, not the general budget. Fulton, who works part-time, will continue to be paid out of the police department’s budget, Allen said.
Some start-up costs include about $350 to get Dewey recertified, $500 for insurance and $4,000 to equip a police vehicle with a kennel, Fulton said.
If all goes well, the department could see another K-9 help patrol the streets.
Another part-time officer works full-time with his dog at the Perry Police Department.
Allen said he would like to work out an agreement for the dog to assist in Argentine Township as well.
Township Board Trustee Tom Hallman said having Dewey on the force will be an asset to the community.
“Unfortunately, when the economy is in the shape it’s in, drug abuse goes up higher and … (Dewey) will be a deterrent,” he said.
“I thought, ‘We’re surrounded in a bad way,’” said Leilani Rowley,
10, as 11 police SWAT officers in full gear walked into the room at
University Medical Center on Tuesday.
Leilani was getting an infusion of platelets to prepare for a bone marrow transplant Wednesday.
It was her first up-close look at a SWAT team.
Tucson police Special Weapons and Tactics officers visited the young
patients to cheer them on in their struggle with cancer or aplastic
anemia or recent surgery. The visit was arranged by UMC Child Life
Specialist Mary Celeste Stone.
“My kids know the police are the
good guys,” said Leilani’s mother, Heather Rowley, who wore striped
pajamas, furry slippers and a surgical mask just like her daughter’s.
She said people stare less at her daughter when they dress the same.
a fifth-grader who attended Safford Middle School, is home-schooled
because of her illness, but she wants to return to the classroom, she
Sgt. Robert Allen and Officers Armando Olivas and Pierre
De La Ossa said they brought along “less lethal” weapons that fire
wooden pegs instead of bullets to demonstrate to the children the
different tools they have to fight the bad guys.
The officers also handed out police department stickers and pencils.
Norm Scheopner showed off SWAT’s “Recon Scout” robot camera, which
looks like a dog toy but is fitted with a tiny camera and moves like a
remote-controlled toy car.
SWAT officers told the children they
toss it inside a building and maneuver it like a remote-controlled toy.
Their hand-held video monitor shows them what’s going on inside without
having to put themselves at risk.
Ira Lovell, 9, is in third
grade at La Paloma Academy, and he was hooked up to IVs as he recovered
from an appendectomy the day before.
“It was cool,” he said of the SWAT officers’ visit. His mother said this was his first time out of bed since the surgery.
Denise Briggs’ son Troy, 8, a second-grader, saw the SWAT officers walk
into the pediatric play room, he was curious about their guns, he said.
asked one of the officers seated at the the child-size table with him
to take a cartridge out of his magazine so he could get a closer look.
The officer said it was a hollow point.
“I saw a bullet in the road once,” Troy said.
An officer took out his bullet-resistant vest plate and let Troy tap on it so he could see how hard it is.
“I actually felt kind of cool,” he said after the visit with the officers. “I’ve never met a cop before.”
He said he liked what the SWAT cops call “the dog bone,” the robot camera.
“I never knew they used a robot for special missions,” Troy said.