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Muskingum County Sheriff’s Detective K.C. Jones loves to gather information, share information and just be “nosey.”
That might be one of the reasons Jones was presented an achievement award from the Ohio Department of Homeland Security. The award was for his part in gathering information regarding items that had been stolen and leading to a multi-jursidicational and multi-state theft ring.
“It’s really just helping connect dots,” Jones said. “I received some information that I in turn shared with my contacts through Homeland Security, which led to sharing the information with the FBI and the case has grown from there.”
Neither Jones nor Sheriff Matt Lutz said they could release any information regarding the cases.
Dogs are often called man’s best friend.
That especially has meaning when a dog lays down its life for his owner or, as in the case, when Bosco took two bullets that might have been meant for his human partner.
Bosco and Zanesville Police Officer Mike Schiele, were shot Aug. 23 while Schiele was attempting to serve a warrant on Dominick Conley, according to police. Conley has been indicted on 12 felony counts and faces 106 years in prison if convicted.
Schiele was shot in the upper left leg, while Bosco took a bullet to the chest and one to the neck. The bullet entering his neck area shattered on his spine and has caused major difficulties with the usage of his legs, especially his front legs. Even though Bosco has been able to come home for a short visit, he is at the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital in Columbus for intense therapy.
While Bosco will probably never return to duty with Schiele, he will remain with the police department as an ambassador.
Bosco’s plight has stirred the community and touched people across the country.
The department’s K-9 unit is completely funded by donations. Police said people have been extremely generous by having bake sales, fundraisers or just donating what they can.
Bosco has also brought into light the importance law enforcement places on K-9 units, which have been used by law enforcement agencies and the military for centuries.
Just in the past decade, law enforcement in the area have used different types of dogs for different tasks — patrol, narcotic detection, apprehension and explosive detection.
Those involved with these units say they have the utmost respect for the dogs and wouldn’t be partnered with anyone else.
The K-9 officers also say the most important message they have for the public is that the dogs are not vicious or mean. They are used not just for apprehensions, which is not as common as it was 10 or 20 years ago, but for tracking lost people or objects, detecting drugs, sniffing out explosives and being good public relations for the departments.
All the dogs are taken to schools, festivals, community events and have demonstrations where even very small children are not afraid to pet them.
The dogs are for not just officer safety but for the public’s safety as well.
Here is a look at your dogs:
ZANESVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Paco is just “one of the guys,” according to his partner, Officer Travis Groves.
Paco was first introduced to the police department in 2006 and was paired with former officer Sean Beck. Beck was indicted on federal drug charges in 2007 and Paco had to be deprogrammed and re-trained. Groves was paired with Paco several months later and the two have been together ever since.
“He’s so protective of all the guys,” Groves said. “It’s so funny to see him around everyone. He knows who has the Fig Newtons and who has the Beggin’ Strips at work.”
Groves said one of Paco’s favorite things is playing with the other officers in the locker room before he hits the streets.
“One of the guys has a fur collar that came off a jacket and we call it Paco’s Muskrat,” Groves laughed. “Paco will sit in front of that locker and wait for the officer to get the collar. Once he gets it, he’s off shaking and acting like he’s killing it. Next thing you know, he’s at another guy’s desk begging for a cookie.”
Groves said he and Paco were a natural fit and have become extremely attached to one another.
“He moves when I move, and he stops when I stop,” Groves said. “His eyes are constantly on me, listening to me and watching what I’m doing.”
At home, Paco again fits in.
“I have little ones at home and two cats, and he just acts like he’s been with us forever,” Groves said. “He knows when it’s time to go to work and when it’s time to be home and relax. He’s just one of us at home. He’s very loving and attentive to the kids and to my wife and I.”
One case Paco has to his credit came when Groves stopped a vehicle. Paco hit on the car detecting narcotics.
“The owner of the vehicle had enough narcotics on him to make it a felony arrest and then during the investigation we got information that led to a federal narcotics case,” Groves said, smiling as he watched Paco chase a ball. “That was pretty cool for him and me.”
While Groves hasn’t had to send Paco on any apprehensions, he said Paco would have no problem bailing out of the car and chasing someone down.
“He’s always there for me,” Groves said. “He’s always ready to go and just a real pleasure to work with.”
NEW LEXINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT
Sgt. Dan Dodd knew years ago that he wanted to bring a K-9 unit to the New Lexington Police Department. Without any funding from the department, Dodd trained Sosha and got her certified so she could become the department’s drug and apprehension dog.
As the only K-9 unit in Perry County, Dodd, Sosha and newcomer Tazer are kept pretty busy patrolling the streets of New Lexington and helping out other departments in the area.
“Sosha is more into pleasing me than anything, while Tazer is still learning,” Dodd said. “But they’re both great dogs. Sosha has saved me a couple of times and I’ll never forget that.”
Dodd said he fell into some very high water while on a call.
“She did her job and pulled me from the rushing water,” Dodd said. “She saved my butt.”
Sosha also located a hunter who had been missing for three days near New Straitsville.
“We found him lying up in the woods,” Dodd said as he rubbed Sosha behind the ears. “She found him pretty quick once we got the call. He was OK, but without her tracking him, he may not ever have been found.”
Dodd said bonding with his dogs is imperative. “You have to go to work knowing that you have the dog’s full and complete attention.”
Some officers speak to their dogs in German or Dutch. Dodd speaks to his in Czechoslovakian.
“The first dog I ever had was trained in Czechoslovakian, so that’s what I’ve done with mine,” Dodd said. “Most of us train our dogs in another language so that no one else knows what we’re telling them. It throws the suspect off and gives you the upper hand.”
Dodd said his two dogs are part of his family at home.
Tazer, while learning the ropes quickly, is still a puppy.
“Everything has to be a game right now,” Dodd said as Tazer explored the Perry County Fairgrounds. “He’s learning quick, but things have got to be interesting for him.”
Sosha is a little more laid back, but she does enjoy catching bees in her mouth, spitting them out and then catching them again.
Dodd said likes to involve his dogs to as many different scenarios as possible.
“I’ll even take them camping with me,” Dodd said. “They need to be exposed to as much as possible in the way of different smells, people, situations and environments. You have to know how they’re going to react to different noises.”
Dodd, like other officers, wouldn’t trade either of his dogs for another partner.
“They are the most dedicated,” Dodd said. “They don’t argue and they do what they need to do.”
COSHOCTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Dingo likes to socialize.
“He loves to play with kids and is the best public-relations tool we have,” said handler Deputy David Stone.
Dingo has been with Stone for two years, and he just recently led authorities to a hunter who had been missing for several hours.
“I had just come back from my honeymoon and we got called out,” Stone said. “It was pretty rough terrain where the hunter was and he had jumped over some high walls. It was dark and very dense where we were, but Dingo found him.”
Then, because of the darkness, Dingo had to lead everyone out of the woods.
“I’ll take a dog to a human partner any day,” Stone said with a grin. “He won’t hesitate to do what he has to do to get the job done.”
Stone credits Dingo with saving his life at least twice.
The first time came when Stone answered a domestic call. “The guy charges the door and I try to Taser him, but my Taser malfunctioned,” Stone said. “The guy starts to fight and I hit the bailout button to release Dingo from the car and he even fought with Dingo for a while before we could actually get him in custody. He hit Dingo pretty good several times, but Dingo never gave up. I believe he may have been on some type of drug, he was fighting so hard.”
Another time was when Stone responded to a barfight.
“I was getting ready to place the suspect in cuffs when another guy behind me starts to swing down on me,” Stone said. “Dingo took him down and that was the end of that.”
While Dingo guards Stone during the day, he is incorporated into Stone’s family at night.
“He sleeps in the bed with us,” Stone said. “He’s just like having a kid.”
Stone’s stepdaughter, Maggie Snyder, 10, even helps Stone train Dingo.
While Dingo is quick with the wag of his tail and loves to be scratched on his chest, when it’s time to go to work, that is what’s on his mind.
“It’s amazing to people that we give demonstrations for that one minute he’s letting all the kids pet him and the next minute he’s lunging at a suspect,” Stone said. “But it shows how smart they are. They know when they’re suppose to be aggressive and when they’re not.”
Stone said he’d much rather be partnered with a dog than a human.
“Suspects won’t hesitate to fight an officer, but no one wants to fight the dog,” Stone said. “Once he grabs hold of you, he won’t let go until I tell him to. We’ll pull up to a fight somewhere and the minute they see the dog, fights over.”
While Dingo can get the job done, he’s obviously got the other deputies at the department wrapped around his paw.
Lt. Bill Kobel said Dingo is ornery and is like the department’s kid. “He just stole the stress ball off my desk,” Kobel said, laughing.
Stone said he has no doubt that Dingo would save his life again and again if necessary.
“I know Bosco saved Schiele’s life,” Stone said, referring to the Zanesville shooting. “There’s never a dull moment with one and they’re a blast to have around.”
MUSKINGUM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Zero is the littlest and the oldest dog on the department.
But you wouldn’t know it by his actions, his devotion or his sense of duty.
“When I go to work, he’s right there,” Lt. Pete Fisher, Zero’s partner, said. “He’s always ready to go and if he doesn’t get to go, he gets mad and lets me know it.”
Zero may have to be retired soon. At age 11, he’s more than paid for his time at the department by leading deputies to more than $1 million in cash and drugs.
“He’s the smallest, but he has the biggest heart,” Fisher said. “He works big, that’s for sure.”
Zero is not intimated by anyone or anything, Fisher said with a laugh. “Everything he does, he does to make me happy. That’s what his life revolves around. Working and pleasing.”
Fisher bought Zero when he was only 6 weeks old and paid for him to be certified. Zero turned out to be one of the youngest dogs ever to hit the streets. He was only 6 months old when he started working.
“I knew we needed a K-9 unit at the department and so I just did it,” Fisher said. “He’s my dog and when he retires, he’ll stay with me.”
Fisher cautioned that buying a dog from a litter that has not been specifically bred for police work is a gamble.
“You don’t know what you’re going to get,” Fisher said. “Zero came from a litter of six, and only he and his brother worked out. A good pet doesn’t make a good police dog.”
Fisher knew Zero would to be a good partner within the first year.
“We went into a house that had a dog and we didn’t know it,” Fisher said. “That dog attacked Zero and when we got them separated, Zero was pretty banged up. But he kept on going, found the suspect and apprehended him. When it was all over, I had to take him to the vet and get him bandaged up. He had some pretty good wounds on his one leg. But he never stopped and never let it bother him. He knew he had a job to do and he did it.”
The sheriff’s office, like most departments, has bullet-proof vests for the K-9s, but the dogs don’t wear them all the time.
“They’re too hot,” Fisher said. “It’s just not possible to have one on the dog all the time. The dog gets hot, he won’t perform.”
Fisher said leaving a vest on a dog is exhausting, too.
“If you have it on them all day, they’ll be too exhausted by the time they actually have to do something,” Fisher said. “You use (the vest) when you know you’re going to need them. Unfortunately, you don’t always know when that time is.”
Paisley said that, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, explosive devices can have thousands of different components and Drako right now can hit on at least 22 of them.
“You can play with them and hug them, but then when they’re working, they’re working,” Paisley said.
Drako’s training has been specialized and his searches have to be completely thorough.
“I think all the dogs are very important to the department,” Paisley said. “But with Drako, it’s just a little different. If a dog misses finding a pound of marijuana in a car, well, we figure we’ll get the suspect next time. But if Drako were to miss a bomb or exploding device, then someone dies. … We don’t ever want that to happen.”
Paisley is looking forward to an Ohio State University football game where he and Drako will help the Ohio Highway Patrol search the stadium and surrounding buildings.
Paisley gives Drako commands in French, which he said is to not only confuse a suspect, but it helps distinguish commands Paisley is giving the dog or someone else.
“I don’t want him lying down on the ground or stopping when I’m yelling for a suspect to do that,” Paisley said. “I want him to continue his job and the suspect needs to get down.”
Yorick has also discovered pounds and pounds of marijuana, kilos of cocaine and close to $200,000 in drug money.
“He’s more than paid his dues,” Yerain said. “I have to say, the department has been great about the dog program. They supply the medical attention anytime one of the dogs needs something and they’re great about supplying food. We have taken care of the dogs.”
Yerian said he knew he wanted to be a K-9 officer when he became a member of the department. “I’ve done a lot of stuff with Yorick,” Yerian said. “It’s been very interesting.”
Yorick, like the other dogs, is a part of Yerian’s family when he goes home.
“He’s been around about as long as my kids, and they all hang together,” Yerian said. “He’s a typical pet at home, but the minute he gets in the car, it’s a whole different story. He’s on the job then.”
There was a three-week period when Yerian couldn’t take Yorick to work because his patrol car was not specially outfitted for the dog. Patrol cars are fitted with cages and a release latch that allows the officer to let the dog out of the car by pressing a button on his utility belt.
“That was a long time to be without him,” Yerian said. “I didn’t realize how much I depended on him and missed him until he wasn’t there. I’m not sure if I’d rather have a human partner, but I can say I’d really miss having Yorick.”
Yorick is constantly on the job, Yerian said, and gives the example of when the two went to a school to give a demonstration.
“I let him out of the car for a minute to use the bathroom and the next minute he’s alerting to drugs in a car in the parking lot,” Yerian said. “His nose is just always going.”
Yerian said all the dogs are amazing animals, and Yorick proves it every day when he opens the car door.
“He just pushes his nose up under the handle, pops the door open and gets in,” Yerian said with a laugh. “Just don’t run from him.”
ZANESVILLE – The Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office has a new deputy who will soon take to the streets.
Drako, a K-9 who is trained to detected explosives, was recently purchased by the department through a $20,000 donation from The Fraternal Order of Eagles. The donation also covers the training of another recently acquired K-9, Kilo.
Deputy Ryan Paisley will be partnered with Drako and the pair will spend about six weeks training with each other with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s department has lost two dogs in the last year, Nitro, who was partners with Sgt. Pat Keck, and Brico, who was with Lt. Pete Fisher. Brico passed away earlier this year from health problems and Nitro has been retired due to health issues, according to Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Both Drako and Nitro will be trained in suspect tracking, bite work, and lost article tracking. Bomb dogs are trained to sit when they find explosives.
Lutz said Drako will be an asset to his department. “Several years back we had a bomb scare at one of the schools and we had Nitro out there every morning searching 15 buses for days. If we hadn’t had the dog, we’d have had a real problem on our hands,” he added.
With these new additions, the sheriff’s office will be able to have a drug dog on every shift which will help keep the public as well as officers safe, Lutz said.
While the K-9s are not used daily, they are always on call and always ready.
“We had to use Zero (Wednesday) during a traffic stop,” Lutz said. Zero is Fisher’s partner. “Without Zero, we may have lost a drug suspect.”
Lutz explained it was great to not have any personal cost for the dog and that the taxpayers won’t have to pay either. He gave credit to the Eagles and said without the organization’s support, the two new K-9s would not have been possible.
“When Bill Rucker, with the Eagles, read about Brico in the Times Recorder, he called me and asked if his organization could help get a new dog,” Lutz said. “That led to the Eagles being even more generous in donating the $20,000 and enabling us to not only train Kilo, but to purchase Drako.”
Rucker said his organization does a lot of work in the community with not only the sheriff’s office, but with the fire departments, EMS, and other agencies.
“Without our local members we wouldn’t be able to do this,” Rucker said.
Lutz said he is ecstatic about welcoming Drako to his office.
“He’s a young dog and we’re expecting him to work with us for quite a while,” Lutz said.
Kilo is the name picked for the new K-9 officer at the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office.
Kilo’s name was picked by students at Duncan Falls and Hopewell Elementary schools, said Sheriff Matt Lutz.
All the schools in Muskingum County were asked to participate in selecting names for the puppy and Deputy Justin Thompson, Kilo’s partner, made the final selection.
“I think it’s a very appropriate name,” Lutz said. “He’s going to be our newest drug K-9 and it just fits.”
Kilo, a 3-month-old German shepherd, was donated to the sheriff’s office by Steve Strauss last week. The sheriff’s office recently lost a K-9 – Brico – who was partnered with Lt. Pete Fisher.
Fisher, who still has a K-9 named Zero, will be with Kilo and Thompson, when they tour the schools.
Thompson expressed interest in the name Kilo last week when he first received the puppy.
“I think it would be good since he’s going to be a drug dog,” Thompson said at the time.
Thompson will be taking Kilo through training with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units and Lutz is hoping he will be certified and trained by 9-months-old.
The training may be sponsored by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, but Lutz said that hasn’t been completely finalized.
Thompson took Kilo home last week and Lutz said he saw Kilo a few days ago.
“He was sitting in Justin’s car between the two kids looking happy and very content,” Lutz said.
Lutz said he believes Kilo is a good name because it seems to follow tradition at the department.
“We’ve got Nitro and Zero and had Brico,” Lutz said. “So Kilo just seems to fit in.”
Lutz said the puppy will be at the schools sometime next week.
“I know the kids are excited,” Lutz said. “We appreciate all that participated.”
A new deputy was welcomed with open arms and lots of pats on the head at the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday.
A 3-month-old German shepherd was donated to the sheriff’s office by Steve Strauss, owner of Strauss Fencing, after Brico, an 11-year-old Dutch malinois suddenly passed away in March.
The new puppy, which may be named by county school children, will replace Brico on the department, but will have Deputy Justin Thompson as his partner. Brico was Lt. Pete Fisher’s partner.
Sheriff Matt Lutz said he has invited all the schools in the county and city to submit three names for the puppy. The final decision on a name will be up to Thompson, Lutz said, but if one of the names submitted is picked, the puppy will make a visit to the school.
Thompson will be taking the puppy through training with the Licking County Sheriff’s Office K-9 units and could be trained and certified in drug work by the time the he is 9-months-old, Lutz said.
“It’s going to take longer to get him trained for the street,” Lutz said. “But we’re hoping that the Fraternal Order of the Eagles will be able to fund the training for the puppy which would allow the department to purchase a bomb dog.”
Strauss said the puppy was picked for the department due to his deposition.
“He’s a real curious George,” Strauss said. “Loud noises don’t seem to bother him and he’s pretty calm.”
Strauss has had one other shepherd that is now a K-9 officer in the Akron/Canton area.
“I initially offered the puppy to Pete Fisher after he lost Brico,” Strauss said. “But Pete’s still got Zero and once Zero retires, Pete won’t be doing K-9 anymore.”
Lutz said he jumped at the chance when Strauss made the offer.
“We opened up the position and had six deputies apply,” Lutz said. “Justin was our first pick and for the bomb dog we’re going to have Deputy Ryan Paisley.”
Thompson seemed to fall in love with the puppy the minute it was laid in his arms.
“He’s huge,” Thompson grinned. “I told my daughter she could hold him but I’m thinking that maybe that’s not the way it’s going to be.”
Thompson took the puppy home with him and said the puppy will be integrated into his household as a family member.
Thompson is married to Detective Amy Thompson and the couple have two children, Hannah, 5, and Carson, 2.
“They’re really excited,” Amy said. “They can’t wait to have the puppy home.”
Lutz said with the new puppy, the department will have a K-9 unit for each of the four patrol shifts and the bomb dog will be working when and where needed. Right now the department has Fisher with Zero, Deputy Pat Keck with Nitro and Deputy Jason Yerian with Yorich.
With the funding from the Eagles, Lutz said the department would save about $10,000.
“That enables us to purchase the bomb dog and we couldn’t be happier,” Lutz said. “I want to thank Steve and the Eagles for giving us this opportunity and great addition to the department.”
Lutz said he is hoping that by 2010 the department will have the puppy fully trained and on the streets.