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Salt Lake police dog makes first bust on second day

It’s all still a big game to Otto. For him, finding hidden items means lots of attention.

But when Otto, a Belgian Malinois, helped police officers find meth inside a car Thursday night, he proved he could handle his new job.

“I was so excited last night. I called my wife right away; she was sleeping. I called my dad, and he was getting ready for bed,” said Nick Pearce, a K-9 officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Otto is Pearce’s dog, who was certified earlier this week after training with Pierce for six weeks.

Only two days later, Otto made his first bust. It was also a first for Pearce.

“I was ecstatic. I haven’t smiled like that in a long time,” said Pearce, a five-year veteran of the Salt Lake City Police Department who recently joined the K-9 unit.

The call for K-9 assistance came from West Valley police officers who had chased a suspect’s car into Salt Lake City. Once Otto started scratching at the center console inside the car, officers started looking and found a half ounce of meth and two guns — one of which was stolen.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE/VIDEO HERE

Trainees hope to make the cut for SWAT

The window three stories above Sgt. Lance VanDongen looked unintimidating, but only from the ground.

“You’re not going to want to go through that window,” he warned the 29 SWAT candidates who are harnessed up for Tuesday’s urban climbing course at the Salt Lake City police training tower. “It’s a very unnatural thing to do.”

The rappelling exercise is part of a six-day training course this week for prospective SWAT officers from seven police and fire agencies and military personnel. Starting at 4 a.m. Sunday, the trainees have been running obstacle courses, swimming, shooting and climbing up and down buildings.

It sounds cool, but Hollywood bravado has no place on belay.

“I don’t want to see anyone jumping down in leaps,” Detective Reuban Torres warned the students.

On the other side of the tower, trainees scaled a suspended ladder less than a foot wide. It twisted between their feet as they climbed to the roof through strong gusts of wind.

Salt Lake City fire investigator Cristal VanDongen finished her ascent without a hitch and assured her skeptical classmates she had no special ladders training from the fire department.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

Technology has changed, but Salt Lake police still serve and protect

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.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE

Trainees hope to make the cut for SWAT

The window three stories above Sgt. Lance VanDongen looked unintimidating, but only from the ground.

“You’re not going to want to go through that window,” he warned the 29 SWAT candidates who are harnessed up for Tuesday’s urban climbing course at the Salt Lake City police training tower. “It’s a very unnatural thing to do.”

The rappelling exercise is part of a six-day training course this week for prospective SWAT officers from seven police and fire agencies and military personnel. Starting at 4 a.m. Sunday, the trainees have been running obstacle courses, swimming, shooting and climbing up and down buildings.

It sounds cool, but Hollywood bravado has no place on belay.

“I don’t want to see anyone jumping down in leaps,” Detective Reuban Torres warned the students.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE/PIC HERE

A new cop shop — about time

The shabby display case in the dreary lobby of Salt Lake City’s existing public safety building is occupied only by an antique police hat and a few badges.

It’s symptomatic of the entire building, an unattractive, unsafe structure that voters on Tuesday finally agreed to replace. And up on the eighth floor on Wednesday, Police Chief Chris Burbank was a happy, if tired, guy.

He has, after all, been working toward this for 10 years, since then-Chief Rick Dinse declared it a top priority for police officers and firefighters who will occupy the complex once it’s built.

Critics, and there are many, will say that this is not the time to add 75 bucks a year to the property tax on a $260,000 home. But this is a progressive tax, one that will cost the high-priced homeowners more and those who live in modest houses less.

More to the point, police and firefighters deserve it. They’re the men and women who put themselves on the line every day for us, and if it costs $125 million to build them a headquarters that doesn’t have black mold and vermin, then it’s worth every penny.

Upstairs at the cop shop on 200 South, there’s an office-sized room that houses what now stands as the police department’s museum. Its display cases have the weapons seized from bad guys: knives, handguns, ugly sawed-off shotguns and a polished metal axe with black tape around its handle.

There’s even what looks like a horseman’s axe, a long-handled

combination spear and blade that can be hung from a belt. Oh, and a sinister straight razor.

Such are the perils that cops can encounter every day.

There was a time, Burbank says, when cops were outfitted with military surplus weapons such as the machine gun also on display,

About a quarter century ago, weapons and gear began to be tailored to police use, although it took some time — Burbank recalls how he and other SWAT team members would modify paintball holsters because they couldn’t find the thigh holsters they needed. And, with an industrial sewing machine in the basement, they’d modify body armor to do a better job of keeping them alive.

Now, a lot of police work is routine. A patrol may yield two or three calls that get you jacked up, calls like domestic violence or fights that could get you hurt.

In fact, a former-cop friend of mine says an officer spends most of his or her time wondering what’s going to happen; is this the one where I’m going to get hurt; and then, oh, man, I am getting hurt.

It’s like this, my friend says: Cops earn their pay when common sense tells them to get the hell away. And, of course, they won’t.

Think of the Salt Lake patrol officer who responded to Trolley Square when Sulejman Talovic opened fire on Feb. 12, 2007. He teamed up with an off-duty Ogden officer and quite likely saved lives. They were swiftly followed by a SWAT team that killed Talovic, but Andy Oblad — like any good cop — didn’t hesitate.

And firefighters, the men and women who walk into the heat and smoke to save a home, who are EMTs and paramedics who tend to the drunk on the sidewalk just as they would a gunshot victim or someone who’s had a stroke.

So, yes, all of them deserve a new headquarters that proves that our city honors what they do all day, every day. I’ll gladly pay my share of that honor and that cost.

BY PEG MCENTEE

LINK

Salt Lake City PD wins top K9 honors in competition

The Salt Lake City Police Department’s K9 team has earned top honors at the 19th Annual Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials.

Officers Cale Lennberg and K9 Troll and Tony Brereton and K9 Jinx competed against 40 other teams from five western states and an international team from Mexico.

The competition included building searches, open area searches, tactical obedience, obstacles, apprehension and narcotics searches.

Officer Lennberg and Troll won second place overall for Top Dog. Officer Brereton and Jinx won 2nd place in the building search event and 2nd place in tactical obedience. With a combined seven individual trophies and high scores in 5 of 9 events, the Salt Lake team took home the 1st place Top Agency trophy this year.

LINK

Fallen S.L. police officers honored

Lives that were lived with valor and freely given for others were honored at the Pioneer Precinct on Thursday.

Salt Lake City Police officers, family and friends gathered at Memorial Plaza on 1040 W. 700 South to honor those officers who have fallen while in action.

Salt Lake City police officers salute the flag during the national anthem as they and others gather at the annual Fallen Officers memorial services in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday. (August Miller, Deseret News)

Salt Lake City police officers salute the flag during the national anthem as they and others gather at the annual Fallen Officers memorial services in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday. (August Miller, Deseret News)

“This is a day of reflection for those by whom we have been so well-served,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

Becker, along with U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, were in attendance to honor those who have given their lives for the safety of others.

“The loss of lives is a reminder to us of the debt we owe to those who protect,” Matheson said.

He noted how this day reminded him of a banner he once saw that said, ” In valor there is hope.” Matheson said the lives of those lost won’t be forgotten. “We truly celebrate their lives and their contributions.”

Police honored 24 officers who have fallen in the line of duty since 1858. Family members and loved ones took turns placing flowers on a display as names were read of those who have died. A stone memorial engraved with the names and dates the officers died stood as a focal point next to the floral display.

A small girl and her grandmother walked toward the memorial and placed a red flower in honor of the woman’s husband, Sgt. James Faraone, who was hit by a car just off Interstate 80 in 2001.

“As hard as it is to come here, it is good to have him and the family remembered,” said Kelly Faraone. As Faraone watched her granddaughter play, she recalled, “I have a picture of my husband hanging up at home, and (my granddaughter) always sees it and says, ‘There’s Poppa.’ ”

Faraone expressed how sometimes it is hard for her to be a grandma by herself, but she knows her husband left a great legacy for which his granddaughter will remember him.

While the program was emotional, it was also a time long awaited for family members like Lori Cawley, who said she thought it was “pretty cool” when Salt Lake police decided to honor her brother, James Cawley, who was killed in active duty as a Marine in Iraq in 2003.

“I love this day. I look forward to it every May,” Cawley said.

James Cawley was called to Iraq as a Marine reservist while serving as a Salt Lake police officer.

An American flag could be heard waving in the wind as silence fell on the crowd, and a police SWAT team fired a 21-gun salute in honor of the officers.

“This day helps us know how fragile life is and how important it is for us to stick together,” said Salt Lake City Council Chairman Carlton Christensen.

Part of the Salt Lake police mission statement is to maintain human rights and promote individual responsibility and community commitment. Becker said, “We need days like this to remind us we are in a society that is secured, unlike many others overseas.”

Becker noted he was surprised at how many citizens have mentioned to him that they are afraid of law enforcement.

To the many citizens who feel detached from officers, Chief Chris Burbank said, “We work best when we are a part of the community, not apart from the community.”

Link

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