In Loving Memory of
& KOKO (pet)
August 31, 2003
Constable Darren Leggatt
Calgary Police Service
Support Section, Canine Unit
6528-11 Street N.E.
Calgary,Alberta, Canada T2E 7J4
Tragedy in Canada; Air
K-9 Gino and Pet Dog, Koko
Calgary, Canada -
9/2/2003 - Emma Poole, with files from Scott Crowson Calgary Herald
police will look at adding a temperature safety device to K-9 unit
vehicles to prevent service dogs from accidentally overheating and
dying, a senior officer said Monday. The move comes one day after Gino,
an 11-year-old male German shepherd, died after being left in a newer
model unmarked CROWN VICTORIA outside a northeast police station. Gino,
along with police service dog Koko, a six-year-old female German
shepherd, were left in the vehicle while Const. Darren Leggatt finished
paperwork. Leggatt's own dog also died. Although the air conditioning
was running, a malfunction in the car is believed to have caused the car
to start blowing hot air. "We would look to see if there's any products
available to prevent a similar incident," said Insp. Gord Pelly. Some
agencies, including Virginia State Department of Corrections and the
U.S. Secret Service, have installed a warning system called Hotdog in
their K-9 vehicles to prevent overheating. Criminalistics Inc., an
American company, sells the product, which can be programmed for several
responses when the temperature limit is exceeded. It can lower electric
windows, activate the car horn or lights, and repeatedly activate a
pager alarm. The basic model retails for about $450 Cdn. The dogs'
deaths have sent a ripple of sadness across the police service,
especially within the K-9 unit, a tight-knit group known to spend more
time with their animals than their families. Leggatt, a 15-year member
of Calgary Police Service, has been with the K-9 unit for the past four
years. He was working as an acting sergeant during the holiday weekend
and was in the office doing paperwork Sunday when the incident occurred.
The two police dogs, as well as Leggatt's family dog, a German shepherd,
were left in the vehicle with the air conditioning running.
had been checked on throughout the day and were allowed out of the car
to exercise and play several times, said police. Leggatt returned to the
car in the afternoon and opened the back door to find all three dogs in
cardiac arrest. The vents inside the car had been blowing hot air for an
unknown length of time. Leggatt performed cardio pulmonary resuscitation
on Koko, who is trained at detecting explosives.
Once he was
revived, Leggatt moved on to Gino, one of the most successful dogs in
the service. He called for help over his radio. All three dogs were
rushed to the Emergency Animal Clinic in Inglewood, where the family pet
and Gino were pronounced dead. "Gino was a unique service dog who had
the ability to go from getting his belly rubbed by a kindergarten class
to the apprehension of a house breaker in a matter of minutes," said
Insp. Kevin Brookwell, commander of the police support section. "Darren
and Gino were one of our most consistent and successful dog-handler
teams. They were responsible for the location or apprehension of
numerous criminals, almost on a nightly basis, and Gino will be sorely
missed." Gino was born in Hungary and came to the CPS in 1999. He took
commands in Hungarian and spent time as a service dog in Edmonton. Koko,
born and raised in Calgary, was treated by vets and is improving on an
hourly basis. Police expect her to make a full recovery. Police received
several angry calls on Monday from Calgarians. "A lot of people are not
so happy," said Pelly. He said the unmarked unit has been removed from
service and will undergo testing. Canine officers from across Alberta
sent their condolences to Leggatt at the Calgary unit, where there are
about a dozen police dogs. "You really create a bond with these dogs.
It's like having a regular person in the car," said Const. Rod Koshowski,
a four-year member of the Edmonton Police Service's K-9 unit. "You rely
on them, totally. I really don't think people understand the bond." It's
standard procedure to leave the animal in an idling cruiser while the
officer conducts business, as long as the air conditioning is running,
said Koshowski. "(The cruiser), it's like (the dogs') office. It's their
place when they're working," he said. "It's their safety zone."
Koshowski said Edmonton officers have been told not to use the air
conditioning inside their cruisers at their highest level. While the fan
can remain on high, the temperature should not be at the most extreme
level. Air conditioning units have been known to seize when on high
levels for long periods, he said. Const. Gord Stull, a six-year veteran
of the Medicine Hat Police Service K-9 unit, said his dog, Nero, prefers
to remain in the cruiser. "For him to come into the building (with me),
he would feel like he's working," said Stull. "Their rest time is in the
vehicle." Initial investigation into the Calgary dog deaths shows the
air conditioner malfunctioned and began blowing hot air. The temperature
outside was already 28 C. Upholstery in a vehicle can heat up to
temperatures that make it impossible for animals to cool themselves. It
can take less than 10 minutes to send a dog in a hot car into cardiac
arrest. "We'll also be looking at our operating procedures to determine
if this situation can be prevented in the future," said Brookwell.
September 6, 2003
Calgary police say
clogged radiator led to death of police dog and family pet
clogged car radiator led to the heatstroke deaths of a police dog and a
family pet and the severe injury of a bomb-sniffing canine, a force
spokesman said Friday. The dog that survived the August 25 accident
inside the Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser has made a steady recovery
and was to go home to his master, Const. Darren Leggatt, on Friday, said
Insp. Kevin Brookwell. "We're very optimistic Koko will be back to work
-- a lot of time and effort was put into getting her to that level (of
explosive-sniffing)," said Brookwell. Despite efforts by Leggatt to
revive him with CPR, police canine Gino died. A test on the cruiser
used by Leggatt when the accident occurred Sunday traced the fatal
episode to a radiator clogged by grass seed, tree fluff, bugs and
dandelions, said Brookwell. The obstructions cut off the supply of
cooler air to the engine, which overheated. "To protect the engine, the
car's systems shut down and one of the first things to go is the air
conditioning," said Brookwell. "The clogged radiator had a domino effect
all the way."
After an hour of
test-running the car under conditions similar to last Sunday's 29 C
temperature, the cruiser's air conditioning began to fail, said
Brookwell. The findings confirm Leggatt -- who'd checked on the dogs
while parked at a northeast police facility last Sunday -- had done
Jim Cortina, Dir, CPWDA
During the past months Darren has been
training a new dog with the anticipation of being back on the street.
Loving Memory of
March 21, 2003
Sgt. Timothy Shea
Waterbury Police Department
236 Grand St.
I would like
to take a moment to thank all of for your kind e-mails. This are very
difficult times we are all living in and working in. When one of our own
is hurt or killed, it hits us all of us very hard. Weather it be a close
friend, someone we work with or maybe someone we have never met, but
chose to take up the challenge of wearing the uniform. Those who worked
with or trained with Gunner knew the level of respect and acceptance
that had transformed Gunner and myself into what I felt was an excellent
working team. I don't want to name names (Scribner, Holland, Nott,
Calvello, Robinson, all the WTBY. guys and a cast of other characters) ,
but those people who worked and trained with Gunner had respect for him.
I know I did after that third trip to the E.R. If you can indulge me a
moment I would like to tell a few funny stories about Gunner. There was
a time that I was called out on a nice sunny Sat. Gunner of course was
ready to go anything to get out the house and into a cruiser. The vice
squad had picked up a guy during the night who was suspected of large
They had a warrant for the house but could only find a joint in an
ash tray the suspect said would be there. When I came in with Gunner
(off lead) it was funny to see the vice guys stick to the wall
motionless. Gunner immediately went to a walk in closet in the master
bedroom. The vice guys said "we checked in there its clean "but Gunner
pressed on. He came out with a teddy bear about 3' high, I sent him back
he returned with several packages of unopened under garments I sent him
back in. He was hitting in the same spot so I told him in handler terms
he understood to cut the crap.
I sent him back in
and a moment later he emerged with a large bag of pot. Gunner feeling he
had done his job and not receiving his chew toy promptly headed for the
front door. I of course was still just standing there looking at that
big bag of pot. yelled at one of the detectives to close the front door
but they wouldn't move near Gunner.He decided enough was enough and
exited to rest in the car but the door was closed. Gunner trotted off
down the street with over a pound and a half of pot in his mouth. I was
trying not to laugh because the vice guys were yelling to get the stuff.
I called out to Gunner who made a prompt return and dropped the pot
outside the car door. When all was said and done evidence was found to
prove this guy had moved several hundred pounds of pot in only a few
months. I wonder how his Memorial Day weekend will be seeing he is still
a guest of the state. Well I guess one story is enough because we all
have them and they are all special because it was our partners who
accomplished them. Unfortunately Gunner was forced to retire due to my
promotion a few years back as it appears the same may be done to me in
the not so distant future. This is because of several on the job
injuries to my dominant arm and hand. was very much looking forward to
spending time again with my partner. Now my rear seat is empty and a
lead hangs from a door handle empty at each end. Gunner can no longer
feel pain and is among his piers awaiting the return of his handler,
partner and friend. His ashes adorn my mantle with a picture of he and I
in better days. I would like to send my deepest sympathy to Frank H. and
Todd R. I feel your pain and my thoughts are with you and your
Thank you all for
taking the time to read my thoughts sorry they were to long. God bless
each and everyone of you, stay safe and loyal and honest to yourselves
and partners. When it comes down to the tough times that's who you can
With all my thanks, Sgt. T.J. Shea WTBY. P.D.
notified by Jim Cortina, CPWDA Dir.
In Loving Memory of
Handler: Tpr. Michael Cherven
Department of Fire
PO BOX 1025
Stow, MA 01775
photo courtesy of MA State
lose K-9 trooper
by Tom Farmer -
Thursday, April 24, 2003
State Police lost one of its bravest and most beloved investigators this
week when Granite, an explosives sniffing black Labrador, was struck and
killed by a car in Hopkinton at the start of the Boston Marathon.
The 2-year-old dog,
one of a dozen used by the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation
Section, bolted from trooper Michael Cherven Jr.'s Ford Bronco before he
could leash the K-9 and was struck in the head by a passing car.
Cherven, whose late
father, Michael Sr., was a detective with the State Fire Marshal's
office for 10 years, was so distraught at the scene that his wife,
Carolyn, drove there to console him. ``I don't think there are any words
that can explain the loss,'' Cherven said yesterday. ``Some people say
it's your partner but partners go home at the end of your shift and
don't come home and sleep on your pillow or on your bed or at your feet.
``He goes to work with you and is by your side 24 hours a day, seven
days a week. I was devoted to him and he was devoted to me.'' State
Fire Marshal Stephen Coan has offered to set aside an area at Department
of Fire Services headquarters in Stow to bury Granite and other dogs
from the unit when they die in the future as a memorial to the valuable
and dangerous work they perform. ``It's a great tragedy any of us who
have pets can understand in terms of personal loss in addition to the
professional loss we have also suffered,'' said Coan.
Dog killed in
By Norman Miller -
Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - Assoc. press.
HOPKINTON -- A bomb
sniffing dog brought in to help with Marathon security was killed Monday
when he was run over in a staging area before the start of the race.
Granite, a 2 1/2-year-old black Labrador, had been on the job for about
1 1/2 years, according to Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for the
Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. "It's very sad," said Mieth.
"Every person who has a dog or cat, they know it's a member of their
family. When you have a dog you work with every day, the bond is even
more intense." Granite's partner was Massachusetts State Police Trooper
Michael Cherven Jr., who was assigned to the fire services department.
The accident occurred when Cherven and Granite were at a staging area in
Hopkinton prior to the race. They were part of a security detail to help
control and patrol the 20,000 runners and spectators who gathered in the
town. While in the staging area, many of the vehicles were being moved,
and Granite jumped out of Cherven's vehicle, and was hit and killed,
Mieth said. "He was in the wrong spot at the wrong time," Mieth said.
Granite was a trained explosive detection canine, and worked with
Cherven in the hazardous devises unit. Cherven was emotionally
distraught after the death of his canine partner. "Michael's father was
officer assigned to us, and he was one of the first to have a dog
assigned to him -- an arson investigator," said Mieth. "He grew up in a
home with state police dogs." "He's absolutely heartbroken," she said.
leaves the state fire marshal's office with only four bomb sniffing
dogs. The office is in the process of obtaining three more, and one may
be assigned to Cherven.
not be reached for comment yesterday. Mieth said he took the day off to
grieve his fallen comrade.
Granite may be
honored in the future, Mieth said. "The marshal is looking to create a
burial site here (the Massachusetts Fire fighting Academy in Stow) for
any dog who has a death in the line of duty," Mieth said.
Notified by J.
Cortina - CPWDA
graduation from Ct. State
Police's 10 week
Explosive detection K-9 program.