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Two K-9 teams from the Manchester Police Department scored first place finishes recently at the 2011 Police & Fire World Games at Fort Totten in New York City.
The bi-annual event was held Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, and Manchester Police Officer Richard Boyle and his police service dog Marco and Manchester Police Officer Robert Johnson and his police service dog Dibbs both competed in the K-9 Patrol and K-9 Narcotics portion of the games.
Boyle and Marco placed 1st in the Building Searches competition, 2nd in Vehicle Searches and 3rd in Overall Narcotics.
The Manchester Police Department is currently hosting the training of five new K-9 teams for four Connecticut police departments: Manchester, North Branford, Plainville and Wethersfield. Officer Rob Johnson has been with the Manchester Police Department for 13 years and has worked with his K-9 partner, Dibbs, for five years. Johnson is leading the training, along with Officer Richard Boyle. “This is the first time our police department has hosted the K-9 class,” said Johnson.
Zak lay at his master’s feet watching the myriad people and other dogs walk by. He panted, but was soundless and obedient as his handler, Larry Johnson of the Santa Paula Police Department, spoke to passers-by.
“He’s one of the bigger dogs in the county,” said Johnson. “He’s 95 pounds and can be intimidating.” Johnson and Zak were part of the first Dining with the Dogs event at the Camarillo Ranch House in Camarillo. Sponsored by the National Police Dog Foundation along with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit and Sheriff’s Department K-9 Search and Rescue, the event drew more than 600 people and tickets for the dinner and auction event sold out.
Bob Johnson had traveled Route 10 between Man and Logan thousands of times over the years and Sunday a bridge in Rum Creek was named in his honor.
Family and friends gathered by the sign for a special ceremony Sunday.
Johnson was a State Trooper who lost his life to Multiple Sclerosis back in 2009.
His daughter says her dad made a lasting impact on everyone he met.
With less than two months to go before the new Darlington Police Department K-9 Unit hits the streets, police officials hope donations to support the unit will continue to roll in.
To date, roughly $21,500 of the needed $23,500 for startup costs has been raised.
Officer James Johnson will be the new canine’s handler and is enrolled in a six-week trainer’s course beginning on Oct. 4 in North Carolina.
Upon successful completion of the course, Johnson and his new canine partner will begin work on Nov. 15.
Though a K-9 unit’s most notable ability is that of drug interdiction, the dogs also are capable of many other tasks, including protecting officers, searching for lost people and criminal apprehension.
While the department is excited about this new resource, so is the majority of the community. According to the 2010 Darlington Police Department Public Safety Survey, 69 percent of the community supports the idea of implementing a canine unit in the city. It will be the first K-9 unit deployed by the department since its inception in 1865.
It’s often said that man’s best friend is his dog, and that bond is even more special between police officers and their canine partners.
“They are probably the best partners you can have. They take care of you, and you take care of them,” said Lt. Everette Johnson, commander of the Montgomery Police Department’s K-9 unit.
In addition to being great partners to rely on when chasing down fleeing criminals, they’re also great companions.
“They treat you just as good as your home pets do,” he said.
Johnson’s own canine partner is a patrol dog named Nero.
Nero jumped to his hind legs recently and put his paws up against the chain-link door of his run as Johnson approached. As Johnson stroked his nose, Nero seemed like the mildest of house pets.
Once Johnson was about 10 feet away, Nero reverted back to a jumping, barking whirl of energy — a menacing sight, especially for a fleeing criminal.
The most rewarding thing about the job, Johnson said, is seeing the months of work training a dog pay off when the dog performs its commands on duty.
Thanks to their devoted handlers, and support from the community, the Douglas County Sheriff’s seven K9 officers are living like the alpha dogs they are.
The dogs have their own Facebook page and, as of Friday, a fan base of nearly 140 members.
Deputy David Stanley, who oversees the K9 patrol, said he created the Facebook page to inform the community about the important work of the dogs and their partners.
With budget concerns, the officers want the public to know how much they depend on their support and the time that goes into training and caring for the canines.
Capt. David Aymami, who supervises the patrol division, said he had to tell the deputies last year he had to cut 25 percent of the time they were being paid for training with the K9 officers.
“They did the training anyway, on their own time,” Aymami said.
Conceding he lacked the experience for K9 training, Aymami turned the unit over to Stanley.
A Washington State trooper shot at point-blank range in the back of the head and lived to tell about it said it was like being hit with a baseball bat.
Scott Johnson still has the bullet in his head, which is split into three pieces, and said it was “the loudest noise in the world” when he was shot while making a drunken driving arrest last February in Long Beach.
During the arrest, the husband of the suspect allegedly fired at Johnson and a tow truck driver at the scene.
Even being wounded and thinking he was dying, Johnson still managed to take cover and fire off two rounds at the suspect.
Officers with the Bay Area Rapid Transit District have been ordered to turn in their stun guns, two weeks after a BART officer fired one of the weapons at a teenage suspect. However, a BART spokesman said the move was part of a plan for officers to undergo additional training and had “very little to do” with the April 1 incident.
KTVU-TV reported Thursday that after the order was issued, officers were turning in their stun guns at the headquarters at the Lake Merritt BART station.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said nobody was “hit or hurt” in the April 1 incident at the Richmond BART station, which involved a BART officer firing a stun gun at a teen. He declined to release details, citing an internal investigation and privacy concerns.