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Mike Brennan doesn’t do battle stories, even though he’s had his share.
Hanging in Brennan’s office is a photo of him in the thick of one of the Veishea riots (he can’t remember which one), thronged by rampaging students and holding one unruly youth in a headlock. But those kinds of memories aren’t the things that stick out for him.
“They all run together after awhile,” he said.
Instead, when Brennan reflects back on his career with the Ames Police Department, a career that began as an officer on the night shift and progressed to heading up the department’s investigation division, he remembers some of the cases he wishes he hadn’t been a part of, including fatal car accidents, incidents where someone was badly hurt and especially suicides. Brennan has taken suicide calls both as an officer and as an investigator, and even when the job had numbed him to the shock of seeing blood, these cases always had the power to get to him.
Madison: Officer Mike Brennan knew this was going to be a tough day. The introduction of two new police dogs is usually a celebration, but he brought the room to tears when he spoke about having K9 Josh named after his son. “My son desired to come and work with me on the Madison Police Department some day. Would have been a proud moment.”
Sgt. Josh Brennan was killed in Afghanistan in 2007. Mike says the entire department has been very supportive. Two months ago they asked if they could name one of their new K9s after Josh. Mike says Josh had dogs growing up. “I think he’d be very proud. I think he’d be very proud. I think he’d be touched a little bit that somebody would have thought of him. Seeing his name on a badge around the neck of the K9 with Madison Police on it would be a little bit difficult.”
Officer Teresa McKenzie is Josh’s partner. “Mike and I are on the Honor Guard team together, so it meant quite a bit to have Josh named after his son.”
All of Madison’s other K9 units were named for sponsors. These are the first animals named in memoriam.
Slim is named after Lori Rappe, who passed away from cancer in February.
Steve Brezinski is Lori’s husband. “That was her childhood nickname. Her Dad called her that as a kid. The first dog she had as an adult she named Slim.”
Dateline: Riverside, CA
Joseph Richardson didn’t wait until he was sworn in to find his first arrest.
The moment the 8-year-old boy was fitted with a custom Riverside police uniform shirt and miniature duty belt, he channeled an officer’s quick instincts.
Assistant Chief John De La Rosa waited to read him his oath Thursday morning. But Joseph couldn’t ignore the commotion in the front row.
There were his brothers, playing the role of rabble-rousing suspects. Without a word, Joseph moved in, keeping 13-year-old Michael at bay while calmly placing 6-year-old Joshua’s hands behind his back as he lowered him to his knees.
That would have to do. Joseph hadn’t yet received his plastic handcuffs.
“He’s ready to go out on patrol,” said Riverside police Sgt. Jaybee Brennan, as a room of onlookers smiled and “awwed.”
For Joseph and his family, the officer-for-a-day festivities were a bright spot in an ongoing health battle.
Adopted from Estonia with fetal alcohol syndrome and multiple heart disorders — including pulmonary hypertension and transposition of the aorta and pulmonary artery — Joseph has the cognitive skills of a 2-year-old and faces his fourth open-heart surgery Monday.
Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Orange County and the Inland Empire, Riverside police helped Joseph realize his biggest dream.
“He goes around making car noises, saying ‘I want to arrest the bad guy’ and the whole nine yards,” said his father, Scott Richardson. “He just started with ‘I want to be a police officer,’ and it never stopped.”
The buzz-cut, bespectacled boy would visit communications headquarters (where he introduced himself to dispatchers as “Officer Joseph”), receive a bagful of toy SWAT gear, play with Rocco, the department’s K9 dog, and be pinned with four stars on his collar.
“He outranks me,” said Officer Adrian Tillett, one of the personnel and training staff who helped plan the day. “We should salute him.”
But the highlight for Joseph, at least based on the enthusiasm in which he undertook the effort, was surely his arrest of a wanted bank robber. He took a flier for the “Paul Bunyan Bandit” — actually Detective Pat Young — and rode shotgun in a pursuing patrol car.
Just outside the department’s Central Avenue hangar facility, he found the imposingly tall “suspect.” He made an announcement over the car’s loudspeaker, “Stop! We’re going to arrest you,” and placed him in the plastic cuffs.
As the day continued, and Joseph got to see the inside of a police helicopter and look through the scope of an MP-5 machine pistol, he wondered where the suspect had gone. The sign of a true investigator: wanting to see a case all the way through.
“He is going to be set,” his mother, Jennifer Richardson, said at one point, watching Joseph switch between his plastic baton, walkie-talkie and SWAT helmet. “He is going to be playing police officer for the next 20 years.”
A New York State Trooper is out of the hospital Sunday evening following a rollover accident in his State Police SUV on the New York State Thruway Saturday night.
The New York State Police say Trooper Timothy Brennan was chasing a motorcycle last night near the Manchester exit. Both the trooper and motorcyclist lost control the suspect then ditched his bike and ran away.
Police are still looking for motorcyclist. Firefighters tell us they used the Jaws of Life to get Brennan out of his car. It took the Manchester Fire Department about 30 minutes to extricate him. Shortsville Ambulance transported him to Strong Hospital for contusions and cuts to his head.
He was released Sunday morning.