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The Riverside police officer struck by lightning while helping with the Joplin tornado died this morning at a Springfield hospital. Jefferson “Jeff” Taylor, who volunteered to go to Joplin, was 31 years old. He is the first Riverside officer ever to die in the line of duty.
“We are heartbroken,” Riverside Police Chief Greg Mills said today in a statement. “Our department, our community and law enforcement as a whole have lost a dedicated professional doing what he did best — helping those who were in need. The fragility of life gives way to the enduring spirit Jeff showed to us all. Our department will never be the same.”
Locked in the back seat of a police cruiser might be the last place you want to be on Memorial Day weekend. A large, muscular police dog stares you down from behind a layer of bulletproof glass, and you begin to wonder what went wrong.
Jackson Police Department K9 Officer Bill Mills said it might have started with alcohol.
Memorial Day weekend is “definitely a party weekend,” said Mills, a 19-year veteran of the department. “People are off work and they start drinking, and it causes more disorderlies and domestic (disturbances).”
The call him “Coach,” including the teens he doesn’t coach in lacrosse.
Or they call him “Shrek,” a tag that stuck from a couple of years back, when, as a big and bald detective clad in green, a colleague noted a resemblance to the movie character. And he’s good with being called by his full name, Anthony Howard Mills.
Most important to Cpl. Tony Mills, 43, is that the students at Anne Arundel County’s Meade High School call him, whether they shout greetings as he rolls down the hall on his scooter, ask to slip into his office for advice or pull him aside about a problem. He also tells responding officers to call him when trouble erupts involving a Meade student.
“I think that I give the kids the time that sometimes they don’t get at home,” Mills says.
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It began as a traffic shop early in the morning on June 9 by a veteran Anchorage police officer. Then the driver pulled a gun and shot officer Jean Mills twice. The suspect, fresh out of prison and wanted on new charges, fled.
The situation turned so bad so quickly, she never had a chance to draw her gun, Mills said Tuesday, telling her story publicly for the first time. She doesn’t second guess herself. She thinks she did everything by the book.
“I knew something was hinky, but it was just so fast,” she said.
Dozens of police officers sped to the DeBarr Road scene, but the shooter was gone. Then, just before midnight, as police were closing in on him in a Spenard neighborhood, the suspect shot himself dead.
“It is really not a game in real life, but to the K-9 it is.”
– K-9 Police Officer Justin Mills
You will find these two Everyday Hero’s in shape, bonded, loyal and on the run, literally. K-9 Police Officer Justin Mills Joined the Marshall Police Department in 2003, he began his career as a K-9 Officer in August 2008.
“I wanted to be a police officer since I was young and I love working with the dogs, so it is a perfect match,” officer Mills said.
K-9 Officer Mills and his K-9 partner Alan are a team. They work together, train together as well as live together
Mills said Alan is a narcotics/patrol dog. Alan is an “aggressive alert” dog; this means that when Alan enters a scene he will scratch and claw when narcotics are suspected. Alan is also patrol apprehension trained as well as a tracking K-9.
“Working as a K-9 officer is a very big job, a lot of work and requires patients,” said Mills. Mills and Alan were certified and received their training with Norm Garner NCIA-K9 in Shrveport, La. The two train at least once a week as well as keep their certification up to date.
For the first time, the University of Arkansas Police Department has acquired two bomb-sniffing dogs.
The German sheperds will be used to patrol the campus and detect for explosives. The dogs will be most important during sporting events, especially at big events like the football games. Reynolds Razorback Stadium can hold a crowd of more than 70,000 people.
The dogs are both trained to protect students and detect potential bombs on campus.
“We want to make a place safe. In this day and time, it’s getting more and more concerned on people’s minds,” said Chris Kordell, UAPD K-9 officer.
“I think anything that ensures a little more security for our students, faculty and staff is probably a really good idea,” said Cindy Sagers, professor in Biological Sciences.At $8,000 a piece, Orno and Dox were purchased by funds secured by the University of Arkansas Athletic Department, for the main purpose of searching athletic venues for suspicious materials.
“Do a sweep usually the night before, the day before to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary that they don’t need there,” said Lt. Matt Mills, from the UAPD.
The two K-9s are fully trained and certified along with their handlers.“What an incredible athlete. Watching him work the wind currents is incredible. He stands there and you can just see his nose working,” said Kordell.
It’ll cost the University thousands of dollars a year for constant training and care, but in the long run, students and staff agree it’s worth it to ensure the safety of others.“We have a lot of hog-wild fans, a lot of people very crazy, so protecting all those people is just very important,” said UA sophomore Ron Jones.
“It adds a level of protection for them knowing that an explosives K-9 is available literally at a moment’s notice,” said Mills.
While the football games don’t start for another three months, the K-9s have already been put to use.Last week, they were used for the Wal-Mart Shareholders’ Meeting, and this week, they’ll be patrolling the national track meet.The UAPD and the Bentonville Police Department are the only two law enforcement agencies that have explosive ordinance K-9s in northwest Arkansas.
The UAPD hopes to get state grants to pay for the K-9s’ year-to-year care.
Maine’s 53 newest police officers graduated Friday, May 22, from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. The new officers completed 18 weeks of study and training in many diverse areas such as criminal and traffic enforcement, sexual assault, domestic violence, first aid, firearms and crime scene processing.
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills spoke at commencement.
According to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland, some of the graduates will be patrolling this weekend.
Graduates working locally include: Officer Daniel P. Fitzpatrick II, Belfast Police; Officer Daniel M. Harlan, Bucksport Police; and Deputy Gerald R. Lincoln Jr., Waldo County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers singled out for outstanding achievement during training included: Gregory R. Roy, Maine State Police recruit, Class Valedictorian; Officer Rory B. Diffin, Cape Elizabeth Police, Academic Proficiency Award and Mechanics of Arrest, Restraint & Control Proficiency Award; Ryan M. Short, Maine State Police recruit, Combined Practical Skills Proficiency Award; Deputy Gerald R. Lincoln Jr., Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, Professionalism Proficiency Award; Deputy Justin S. Drake, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; Officer Eli G. Poore, Berwick Police and Officer Andrew L. Redden, Rockland Police, Firearms Proficiency Awards; Gregory R. Roy, Maine State Police recruit, Emergency Vehicle Operation Course Proficiency Award; Officer Susan M. Ruby, Sanford Police, Physical Fitness Proficiency Award; and Officer Mathew T. McNutt, Biddeford Police, Randall Parsons Iron-Man Award.