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spending hours trying to find their way home from Portland.
The couple, in their 90s, left their coastal home in the Boothbay region early Aug. 20 for a medical appointment in Portland. Traveling home after the appointment and some shopping, the husband, who was driving, got mixed up at the exits and landed in Alton. From Alton, the elderly man traveled to Milo, according to Cpl. Dale Clark of the Milo Police Department.
For most South Jersey K-9 officers the work doesn’t stop when their shift ends.
It goes home with them. It sleeps in their house, chases their kids and paws at the door for a nighttime walk.
The ever-present K-9 becomes a way of life.
“We spend more time with the dog than we do our own family,” said Gloucester Township Police Officer and K-9 handler James Clark.
He sat in that packed Charlotte courtroom on the last day Thursday, as he had every day of the trial of the man accused of killing his best friend.
John Rainier hung onto a rain jacket, and the bench, for support. The jury was walking in with a verdict.
Rainier, of the Rock Hill Police Department and best man all those years ago at Jeff Shelton’s wedding, hadn’t missed the trial of the man accused of killing Charlotte police officers Shelton and Sean Clark three and half years earlier.
Rainier wore civilian clothes, which is what you wear if you are assigned to the drug unit when your whole life is putting in jail the dope dealers who carry guns and push drugs, that kill kids one snort, or injection, or puff at a time.
Rainier recalled how he got the call in 2007 about the death of his best friend from his patrol lieutenant at the time – a Dick Tracy-jawed guy who has worked Rock Hill’s streets for years and still does, named Don Doster.
Doster is a guy who tells every shift to this day to: “Walk out there with your chin up, take care of each other, and we all go home safe. We all go home together.”
To serve and protect — Utah’s police officers and sheriffs have done just that over the years and the Deseret News has chronicled much of the history of local law enforcement through photographs.
From when a “Police Patrol” traveled by horse and wagon through the streets of Salt Lake City to the addition of air travel by helicopter through the skies of Utah, police have been aided by inventions.
A News photograph by Howard C. Moore, in 1959, heralds when the Salt Lake Police Department began an official “canine corps.” And, yes, German shepherds were the dog of choice then, too, by law enforcement.
A Feb. 7, 1962, photograph in the Deseret News, of Salt Lake police officers Blain Clark and Frank Hanchett in their patrol car, conjures up images of “Car 54, Where Are You?” for those old enough to have grown up with that show. “Car 54″ was an NBC-TV show that aired from 1961-63.
In that same era, on March 22, 1961, another photograph of Salt Lake Police Chief L.C. Crowther highlights the premiere of the first two mobile crime labs to assist law enforcement efforts.
A lot of prayers have been said in the past seven days since two Winston-Salem police officers were shot as they were handling a domestic situation last Thursday.
One of those officers, Sgt. Mickey Hutchens, died Monday evening, while the other, Officer Daniel Clark, was able to go home from the hospital last Friday.
Many may have watched the events of the shooting on television shortly after they took place last Wednesday morning as the public slowly got information as to what happened at the Bojangles’ on Peters Creek Parkway.
Myself, I was intently listening for a more personal reason — my cousin is an officer with the Winston-Salem Police Department.
I knew, or was fairly certain, that he works mostly evening and night shifts and he typically handles calls on the northern end of town. Also, since the television reporters said the families of the two officers were at the hospital, I assumed if it was my cousin I would have known by the time I heard about it on air.
But that never is a sure thing until you know for certain and hear who those involved are by name, or unless you talk to them yourself.
After calling my parents, and getting word from them that no one in the family was involved, I was somewhat relieved.
But that didn’t take away the feelings I felt for the victims and their families. I prayed that the officers would be OK, and would come home where they could recover and then go back to work — always heroes of their community for putting their lives on the line to help protect those who need it.
Domestic incidents happen far too often. The people in the incident are at danger as well as the officers who respond to those calls on a daily basis.
Already this year in Surry County, there have been deaths involving domestic situations. In the local cases, no officers were injured, but innocent people died at the hands of their alleged abusers nonetheless.
Domestic violence is not pretty. Whether it can be seen or not, it leaves bruises — to the emotions, to the mental state, to the physical body many times where clothes will hide the evidence.
It takes a community to stand up and say no more. We won’t stand by and watch people be abused and hurt and all the time be silent.
Silence gives the abusers permission to continue acting out in an unacceptable manner.
The justice system needs to be more aggressive.
Not only in domestic violence cases, but also in DWI cases, too often the offenders get a slap on the wrist, a little community service and probation, if that, and then they get to go home where they can threaten the lives of others all over again.
This incident, the death of Sgt. Hutchens, should be a lesson to the judicial system officials and an eye-opener to the community which needs to stand up and say, “We won’t tolerate it anymore.”
Take a stand. Help protect your neighbors.
Sgt. Hutchens and Officer Clark are heroes. They are heroes to the suspect’s target, who was not injured by her assailant because the sergeant and Officer Clark did their jobs. Hutchens is a hero to the community, for spending his career protecting residents and giving his life in the line of duty.
By Wendy Byerly Wood
Dallas Morning News
The retirement sendoff they threw over at the Dallas Police Department’s central substation Thursday was, in a way, a standard-issue office party. It had punch and balloons and stiff prepared speeches seasoned with a few jokes.
There were pretzels and nuts in little plastic cups to lend a festive air to the drab government conference room. There was that forced heartiness that such occasions seem to inspire, with lots of congratulations and polite, office-appropriate conversation.
But a current of deep emotion – sadness, love and a fierce, defiant pride – ran through the rituals and pleasantries. Nobody pretended that Senior Cpl. Paul Brummett will spend his retirement building a lake house or working on his golf game. He doesn’t have time.
“I’m going to miss him,” said Sgt. Dennis Craig, Brummett’s friend and supervisor. “I’ve been sitting across the desk from him for two years. But the good part is that he’s going to be with his girls, his family.”
Brummett, whom I first met in April, had fixed with bulldog determination to complete his full-pension 20 years with the Dallas Police Department, despite having amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Thin and wasted even then, he said he was determined to stay on the job all summer to make his September retirement date.
I harbored private doubts. ALS is a relentlessly cruel disease that paralyzes its victims in steady increments. By spring, three years after his initial diagnosis, Brummett was barely able to eat or speak. He didn’t seem to have the strength to work for five more months.
I did not know Paul Brummett. Over the summer, apparently fueled on willpower alone, he kept coming to work, where he carried out administrative duties.
“He took care of scheduling, paperwork,” said Senior Cpl. Herb Cotner. “If he couldn’t get here, he worked from his house. He’d bring stuff to me on the weekend.”
Some days over the summer, Sherri Brummett wondered if hitting that 20-year mark was worth the terrible effort it was costing her husband.
“I wanted to say, ‘Sweetie, can you take it easy? Can you just back off a little?’ ” she said. “But he couldn’t, not if he thought he was still able to make a difference.”
The one task he dreaded, Brummett told me last spring, was telling daughters Reagan and Rachel about his prognosis.
But the discussion came naturally, Sherri said. In the way bright kids do, the 8- and 12-year-old had sensed their dad’s illness might be more serious than they had been told.
“It was almost a relief for him,” Sherri said. “It’s not a secret anymore. Now we can talk about it.”
She credits the support of their “second families” – church friends and DPD colleagues – for helping the Brummetts get through the last few months.
Brummett kept working, more than anything, for his two daughters. He wanted, of course, to secure his pension.
But he also wanted to give them a rare gift, a live demonstration that even when life deals you the worst poker hand in the deck, you can persevere with grace and dignity.
“You have to understand how much strength we received from him,” said Senior Cpl. Casey Clark, another of Brummett’s former partners. “You realize the everyday stuff that happens to you, that makes you mad, that makes you ask, ‘Why me?’ – that’s nothing,” he said. “Nothing.”
Brummett cannot speak, so it was left to his former patrol partner, Senior Cpl. Darryl Crow, to read the remarks he had written down.
But Crow couldn’t speak, either. He walked to the front of the crowded room, read a single line and stalled.
“I can’t do it,” he said apologetically, choking back tears. Someone else picked up the paper and read Brummett’s words:
“I have achieved my personal goal,” he had written. “My last goal was to walk out on my own with my head held high.”
Arkansas State Police Special Agent, Corporal Scott Clark, 40, of Gurdon, was presented with the 2008 Trooper of the Year Award Thursday.
Clark is assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company C, headquartered at Hope. He is a 14-year veteran of the department.
Company C Sergeant John Bishop, 58, of Bradley, a 35-year veteran of the department, S/A Clark and Hempstead County Deputy Sheriff Frank McJunkins were each given awards for their valor and selfless independent acts of bravery during an attack by gunfire on March 12th 2008 south of Hope.
The three officers had left a murder scene investigation and drove several miles to a mobile home situated in a secluded, wooded area of rural Hempstead County. It was at the mobile home officers believed they might locate a suspect wanted in connection with the initial murder investigation.
The State Police Special Agents were told by a resident at the home that no one was inside. S/A Clark and Deputy McJunkins obtained consent to enter the home while Sergeant Bishop took up a position to guard the home exits. As Clark and McJunkins approached a rear bedroom area inside the home, an individual later identified as the murder suspect, was discovered hiding behind a plastic sheet and opened fire on the officers wounding S/A Clark.
Clark and McJunkins returned fire simultaneously as Sergeant Bishop entered the home and began laying suppressive fire in order to provide cover for Clark and McJunkins to take safer positions.
Although wounded, S/A Clark managed to escape the gunfire and return to his car to retrieve a second firearm at which time he was directed to retreat from the area and be transported to a hospital by another State Police Special Agent who had arrived on the scene.
The suspect was later determined to have been killed in the exchange of gunfire with officers.
In nominating the officers for their awards, Company C commander, Lieutenant Glenn Sligh cited S/A Clark for his “bravery and perseverance under fire and his willingness to return to the scene after being wounded to protect his fellow officers…”
The department’s Medal of Valor nomination credits Sergeant Bishop for, “…stepping into the line of fire to protect a fallen officer … (and) his presence of mind to see what needed to be done under extremely stressful circumstances … and his ability to communicate that to responding officers…”
S/A Clark continues today to investigate criminal cases for the department across southwest Arkansas.
Other award recipients include:
Medal of Valor
- S/A’s Sergeant John Bishop and Corporal Scott Clark (see preceding narrative).
- State Police Corporal Elvis Mull of Little Rock and Troopers Jimmy Mitchell of Jacksonville and Robert Middleton of Little Rock, each assigned to the department’s Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, received Medals of Valor for, “…brave and heroic actions” as the Troopers pursued a suspect wanted in connection with the August 13, 2008 murder of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney. As the pursuit ended at Sheridan (Grant County) the Troopers found themselves in dangerously close proximity to the suspect who had begun to take-up an armed defensive position when he was shot and killed by officers. The nomination of the Troopers for the Medal of Valor submitted by Captain Gloria Weakland reads, “…The trooper knew that this dangerous assailant, without provocation, had brutally shot an innocent person, threatened others and would no doubt use the same deadly force on them.” In conclusion Captain Weakland writes, “Bravely and without hesitation, they fired upon the felon and their shots brought the subject to the ground, thus ending the chance of more tragic events transpiring.”
- Corporal Robin Kuykendall, of Alma, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H was presented a Medal of Valor for his role in locating a suspect wanted for shooting and wounding a Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputy. During the late evening hours of March 16th 2008, while securing a perimeter around the initial shooting scene, Corporal Kuykendall detected, with the aid of an electronic surveillance device, an individual believed to be hiding in an area surrounded by thick underbrush. With the assistance of other Arkansas State Police personnel along the perimeter, Corporal Kuykendall coordinated a means with other nearby officers to illuminate the area. As the light was directed at the underbrush, an individual rose to a prone position holding a shotgun. The suspect was repeatedly ordered to drop the weapon. As he continued to rise and chamber the shotgun with a shell, officers fired on the suspect killing the man believed to have wounded the local sheriff’s deputy. The nomination narrative submitted by Captain Steve Coleman states, “…the actions of Corporal Kuykendall…were commendable and courageous.” Captain Coleman further credited the keen threat awareness of Corporal Kuykendall and his ability to respond appropriately in order to protect other law enforcement officers and citizens in the immediate area.
- Corporal Chris Waters, of Van Buren, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, was presented a Trooper’s Cross for his actions on March 16th 2008 at Van Buren (see preceding narrative relating to Corporal Robin Kuykendall). It was Corporal Waters who exposed himself by illuminating an area where an armed shooting suspect was hiding. Corporal Waters was nominated for the award based on his commander’s acknowledgment of courage of Waters and his selfless steadfast readiness to protect fellow officers along the perimeter.
Corporals Royce Denney of Griffithville and Tony Bowman of McRae, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B for their independent roles in the September 10th 2008 stand-off with an armed suspect wanted in connection with a murder and aggravated assault of two White County women. The Troopers are credited with maintaining a calm verbal exchange with the suspect who was armed with a shotgun and had fled the murder scene. During the course of the stand-off the Troopers were able to “courageously” close the distance between themselves and the suspect who eventually surrendered the weapon and was taken into custody.
The Family of Sergeant Richard LeBow, of Ozark was presented the department’s Memorial Medal. Sergeant LeBow, a 27-year veteran of the department, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, died in the line of duty during a vehicle crash along Interstate 40 on February 4th 2008. Sergeant LeBow was 51 at the time of his death.
Captain Mark Allen, of Little Rock, assigned to the department’s Highway Patrol Division command offices, is credited with rescuing two Little Rock Police officers who were semi-conscious and trapped inside a patrol car that had begun to smolder and fill with smoke. The October 12th 2008 incident occurred along Highway 10 in west Little Rock after the patrol car crashed into a concrete and stone sign. Captain Allen is credited with using a police baton to break the patrol car glass windows and extricate the officers to safety.
Corporal Doug Thomas, of Jonesboro, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, is credited with saving the life of a 10-month old child. The chain of events associated with the case has been described as miraculous. In the nomination of Corporal Thomas for the award, State Police personnel have stated, “Corporal Thomas went beyond the call of duty in his actions … and heroically exercised his skills as an Arkansas State Trooper, maintaining a calm demeanor, calling upon all available resources and refusing to surrender his determined efforts to save the child.”
On February 17th 2008 a vehicle traveling along State Highway 230 west of Bono veered off the highway, struck a bridge guardrail, causing the vehicle to be vaulted into an inverted position and landing in the cold, dark water below. Witnesses immediately rushed into the waters to rescue a woman who had freed herself from the car which was partially submerged. As Corporal Thomas arrived on the scene he joined other witnesses who had re-entered the waters in an attempt to recover the infant daughter of the woman who had been initially rescued. Several attempts were made to enter the submerged vehicle and release the infant from her safety seat. With the assistance of the witnesses, Corporal Thomas was able to upright the vehicle still in the deep water and using a knife, cut the restraining straps holding the infant seat.
An investigation has determined the child was submerged underwater for 15 to 20 minutes. Once he had removed the baby from the car, Corporal Thomas carried the child to an off-duty nurse who had stopped along the highway to render aid. Resuscitation was initiated and CPR was continued until the infant could be rushed to a Jonesboro hospital. The child was initially listed in critical condition and not expected to survive. Over the course of two-weeks following the traffic crash, doctors reported to State Police the child was rapidly improving and brain scans were positive. The child was eventually removed from life support and demonstrated her ability to breath without medical assistance.
Corporal Ramey Lovan, of Paragould, assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, received a department lifesaving medal for his selfless act of courage on April 30th 2008 while assigned to escort Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter. While transporting the lieutenant governor, Corporal Lovan became aware of thick smoke in a local neighborhood and located a residence engulfed in flames with a handicapped individual who had fallen from her wheelchair and trapped near the structure’s front door. Corporal Lovan exited his patrol car and quickly assessed the situation to confirm no one was inside the burning house, then with the aid of the Lieutenant Governor Halter, removed the woman from the imminent threat of being burned.
Corporal David Williams, of DeValls Bluff, assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, was recognized for his June 1st 2008 efforts to save a newborn baby. Corporal Williams was dispatched to a call of a man and woman requesting aid at the Interstate 40, White River Rest Area. Corporal Williams located a female inside a pick-up truck who had only minutes earlier delivered a newborn. The child was unresponsive and the umbilical cord was still attached. Corporal Williams immediately began to wipe the baby’s face and clear an airway obstruction while simultaneously stimulating the baby to begin breathing. The infant was initially unresponsive, but later began to exhibit movement and gasping for breaths. Corporal Williams’ unwavering commitment to use all available resources and his training to protect and sustain the life of the newborn have been cited by physicians as extraordinary measures which saved the life of the child and are a credit to the service of Corporal Williams and the department.
Civilian Employee of the Year
Karen Nitschke, of North Little Rock, is a 34 year veteran of the department. Ms. Nitschke is assigned to the Administrative Services Division and is the lead headquarters receptionist and information specialist stationed at department’s main switchboard. Ms. Nitschke is one of more than 400 non-commissioned employees who serve in support roles for the State Police enforcement, regulatory and administrative duties. In nominating Ms. Nitschke, her supervisors wrote, “Citizens are professionally served by Karen … whether in person or by telephone, no matter the backlog of calls, Karen maintains a high degree of professionalism and an extraordinary spirit, even under the worst of circumstances that may confront her…”
Distinguished Meritorious Service Award
Corporal Roby Rhoads, of Atkins, is the recipient of the department’s Meritorious Service Award. As the department’s K-9 coordinator, Corporal Rhoads’ duties are under the command of the department’s Highway Patrol Division administrative command office at Little Rock. Along with his enforcement duties as a Trooper assigned to Troop J, Corporal Rhoads manages the training and certification criteria of sixteen State Police canines and handlers. During 2008 the Arkansas State Police Canine Corps aided law enforcement officers in the detection of approximately 4,000 pounds of illegal drugs and $1.7 million dollars in cash proceeds associated with illegal drug transactions.
Distinguished Service Award
Lieutenant Frank McJunkins, of the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Department was awarded the department’s Distinguished Service Award for his assisting role in a March 12th 2008 shoot-out between law enforcement officers and a Hempstead County murder suspect (see third paragraph, page one of this release).
John Begley of Grannis and Ethan McClung of Mountain View for their October 5th 2008 act of heroism, selfless disregard for their own personal wellbeing, and compassion for human life that ultimately saved the life of an individual trapped inside a burning vehicle involved in a highway crash along a Stone County highway.
Corporal Carl Dunn, of Pine Bluff, assigned to Highway Patrol Troop E, for rendering aid to a motor-vehicle driver trapped between a vehicle and the wall of a structure.
Linda Dulaney, of Sherwood, assigned to the department’s Crimes Against Children Hotline who received a transfer call on April 16th 2008 from the Northwest Arkansas Crisis Center. The caller was a teenager contemplating suicide. Dulaney was successful in maintaining a conversation with the teenager while other operators assigned to the Hotline coordinated a reverse trace to lead local law enforcement to the location where the call was originating.
Corporal Ronnie Stewart, of Mammoth Springs, assigned to Highway Patrol Troop I was recognized for his successful efforts to remove a handgun from an individual parked alongside a local highway and threatening suicide.
Corporal Wendall Jines, of Cherokee Village, assigned to Criminal Investigation Division, Company F, for his tenacity and use of skillful investigative resources which ultimately led to an arrest in connection with eighteen fires intentionally set in Randolph County beginning in 2007 and continuing through 2008.
Sergeant Kim Fontaine, of Pine Bluff and Telecom Operator Etta Mothershed, of Dumas, assigned to Highway Patrol Troop E, were recognized for the successful organization of a Law Enforcement Day involving ten southeast Arkansas agencies.
Corporal Todd Shaw, of Melbourne, is credited with the planning and execution of a multi-law enforcement agency raid on a 40-acre marijuana growing operation where more than 8,000 plants were seized and six arrests occurred.
Sergeant Jackie Speer, of Little Rock, assigned to the department’s Administrative Services Division, Training Section, for his three-year long program teaching emergency vehicle driving operations.
Corporal Dennis Overton, of Hot Springs, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for his 2008 Criminal Patrol initiatives which resulted in the seizure of 41 pounds of marijuana, 6 kilograms of cocaine and in excess of $450,000 in cash proceeds used in illegal drug trafficking.
Corporal Kelly Watkins, of Hot Springs Village, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for his personal initiative to develop a mentoring program for local elementary school age children. Corporal Watkins uses his “Mike the Talking Bike” program to educate young children about street and highway safety.
Trooper Oscar Bullard, of Pine Bluff, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop E, for his community service work as a youth minister and his leadership in youth oriented events established to assist elderly Jefferson County residents.
Trooper First Class Chris Goodman, of Russellville, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop J, for his 2008 Criminal Patrol initiatives which resulted in the seizure of approximately 2,198 pounds of marijuana, 33 pounds of cocaine, and in excess of $550,000 in cash proceeds used in illegal drug trafficking.
Corporal Vic Coleman, of Little Rock, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop A, for his 2008 Criminal Patrol initiatives which resulted in the seizure of approximately 670 pounds of marijuana, 24 pounds of cocaine, 2 pounds of methamphetamine and in excess $440,000 in cash proceeds used in illegal drug trafficking.
Corporal Trenton Behnke, of Little Rock, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop A, for his 2008 Criminal Patrol initiatives which resulted in the seizure of approximately 270 pounds of marijuana, 6 pounds of cocaine and in excess of $179,000 in cash proceeds used in illegal drug trafficking.
Trooper Aleksandar Krneta, of Hot Springs, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for his cumulative efforts during 2008 to identify and arrest drunk drivers. Trooper Krneta is credited with 75 DWI/DUI arrests.
Sheila Stanley, of Malvern, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for her exemplary cumulative job record which spans more than 22 years of public service in a non-commissioned law enforcement office capacity.
Trooper Chad Staley, of Malvern, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for his cumulative efforts during 2008 to identify and arrest drunk drivers. Trooper Staley is credited with 67 DWI/DUI arrests.
Corporal Ron Casey, of Sheridan, assigned to Highway Patrol, Troop K, for his initiatives during 2008 to reduce the number of highway traffic crashes in the Grant County area. Corporal Case is credited with issuing 1,200 traffic citations for hazardous driving violations and arresting 45 drunk drivers.
MIDDLETOWN – When a police car drove quietly past the outdoor playground of the Phelps Ingersoll Center for Children at the Northern Middlesex YMCA one afternoon, preschool teacher Susan Dzis said she noticed something disturbing.
“One of my little friends started crying and shaking and seemed very upset,” she said of a preschooler at the center. “I think he might have had a negative experience with the police.”
The incident occurred around the time that Middletown Police Officer Douglas Clark and his German Shepherd K-9 partner Niko helped to apprehend a suspect that had been featured on “America’s Most Wanted.” Impressed, Dzis contacted Clark and asked him to come and talk with her students about what he does for a living.
“I wanted to teach my kids about what the police role is in the community and how you can reach out to the police for help,” said Dzis. “I just wanted to turn it around for them. It’s important for them to know that we are being protected in our own community.”
Clark agreed and when the day for his visit arrived, he drove right up to the gate of the center in his police cruiser with 5-year-old Niko perched beside to him. The pair were accompanied by fellow K-9 team Officer Mike D’Aresta and 2-year-old Hunter, who were more than ready to get the presentation started.
“Does anyone know why we use German shepherds?” Clark asked the eager group of preschoolers, whose parents had also come to hear the program. “We use them because they have excellent skills, good noses and the best part is they are very loyal.”
It didn’t take long for the young audience to understand just how well trained and loyal the two dogs are. Without saying a work, Clark and D’Aresta directed their canine partners to sit, lie down and jump in and out of their cruiser windows. And their motivation? A rubber ball attached to a cord.
“They aren’t motivated by food, they are motivated by toys, they would do anything for this ball,” said Clark. “The dogs help us to find lost kids and they help us to find criminals and they help keep us safe.”
“They also help with evidence recovery,” added D’Aresta, pointing to a sparkly bracelet on one child’s wrist. “You have that pretty bracelet. If you lost it and it was over there in the woods, Officer Hunter could find it.”
The children sat wide-eyed, often standing for a better view or nervously covering their mouths with their hands as Clark and D’Aresta engaged in training maneuvers. At one point, when D’Aresta put on a protective arm guard and pretended to attack Clark, Niko came charging through the open cruiser window and chomped aggressively onto D’Aresta’s protected arm.
“They are not attack dogs,” said Clark. “They are patrol dogs. They only attack if they see someone is hurting us.”
The K-9 teams have been through 15 weeks of training with the Connecticut State Police, are re-certified twice a year and participate in monthly training sessions. D’Aresta, who teaches DARE classes at St. Mary School in Middletown, said he was bitten by a dog while delivering the Hartford Courant as a boy — but the incident didn’t keep him from becoming part of the city’s K-9 team.
“I enjoy it. It helps people to understand that these are not attack dogs,” said D’Aresta of the visit to the center. “It gets them out there and it’s a way for the kids to see that they are not going to attack them, they are friendly and well-trained.”
Five-year-old Tyler Marks watched the presentation closely as he snuggled up between his parents on the playground grass.
“I liked the biting part, I thought they were biting his arm for real,” said Tyler. “They are smart, because they can search for a kid.”
“I wanted to pet them,” said 4-year-old Shania Evans. “I liked the dogs when they listen because they are good police officers. But the biting part made me nervous!”
A new four-legged officer will soon be sniffing its way around the City of Bridges.
A public hearing was held at Tuesday’s Ottumwa City Council meeting. Police Chief Jim Clark shared the department’s spending plan for dollars obtained through the Justice Assistance Grant Program, commonly referred to as JAG.
About $29,000 will be used to reinstate a K-9 program in Ottumwa.
“Our dog that we’re going to be getting is going to be strictly used for searching for drugs and searching for people. It’s not going to be an aggressive dog, it’s not going to be used to attack,” Chief Clark said.
The last time the department had a K-9 was in the 80s.
The O.P.D. will also use $6,000 dollars of the grant to purchase technology that will track squad cars around the city.
The Wapello County Sheriff’s Department was awarded $6,000 of the JAG money that they will use to purchase fifteen handguns and accessories.
His classmates call him Gramps or Grandpa.
Dorie Clark, at age 65, is the oldest trainee enrolled at the University of Missouri Extension Law Enforcement Training Institute since it opened 50 years ago, the oldest of 8,100 trainees in that time span.
Completing the LETI’s 600-hour program provides a student with the minimum training requirements to be certified as a Missouri peace officer.
That’s Clark’s goal; he wants to be a police officer.
“He doesn’t seem to have much trouble keeping up with our 20-and 30-year olds,” Gary Maddox, the institute’s director, said.
Clark commutes from Eldon to Columbia for daily morning classes, which three times a week includes a physical training regimen that begins at 6 a.m. with a 1.5 mile run.
“They call me the old man, but they tell me to slow down when I set the pace during those runs,” he said. “It makes me feel good. They don’t cut me any slack, and I am enjoying every minute of it.”
Clark is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 190 pounds. He came to peace officer training after being laid off in September from his job as a welder and assembly line worker at Fasco Industries in Eldon.
He brings some limited law enforcement experience to his new training. He served as a deputy jailer for two years in Macon in the late 1980s and a brief time as a reserve officer in 1992 in another small town in Missouri, Wellsville.
Certification requirements then called for 120 hours of training, compared to the current 600 hours.
“The law enforcement training is a lot better today than it was back then,” he said. If he successfully completes training, Clark said he plans to accept a position as a police officer at Lincoln University and likely will be the oldest officer on the force, including its chief.
LETI conducts three 15-week training programs a year. Each class has about 30 students. Maddox estimates that about 10 percent of the state’s current peace officers received the training.
The program includes legal studies, interpersonal perspectives such as dealing with domestic violence or child neglect, understanding cultural diversity, ethics and stress management.
Technical studies include jail population management, criminal investigation, juvenile justice and training as a First Responder. Skills development includes defensive tactics, firearms and driver training.
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