Memorials to Fallen K-9s
 2007-D
The F.A.S.T. Co. donates sets of memorial cards to all partners 
 I need your help to inform me of such losses.

Dept. addresses available for those who want to send condolences to officers. See below

In Loving Memory of
K9 DEVO
February 10, 2007

Handler: Officer Rick Osborn 
Sacramento Police Dept.
5770 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA  95822
PH  916 264.5471


Passing of Retired SacPD K9 "Devo"

My partner passed away Saturday, February 10, 2007, and he took a little bit of me with him. He was 13 years old. To me, he was my best friend, my guardian, and my partner. Devo is with his friends now, chasing his ball, or a cat, or spreading the trash around the floor looking for food even though he just ate. Not a minute goes by that I don’t miss his presence. I believe, in time, the sadness will be somewhat replaced by the wonderful memories of times we had together and the life we shared. Devo loved people, especially children. While this dog had an amazing capacity for love, he also had the heart of a lion. He did his job because he loved it.

When I first saw Devo at the vendor, he acted like he wanted to attack everyone he saw. He jumped nearly six feet straight up in the kennel, growling and barking, as we approached. He passed all the tests with flying colors. When it was time to load him in the Veri-kennel for his ride to his new home, he bit one of the handlers, drawing his first blood! The other handler looked at me and said I was going to have “fun” when I got home and released him from his cage! In the car, I sat next to him. Devo was growling and snarling at me through the cage. I kept thinking of that word “fun” the other handler had used! About half-way home (on this six-hour trip), we went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s, where I got a Big Mac. As I was eating, I noticed something was different. The growling next to me was now replaced by a loud curious “sniffing!” I looked at Devo and decided to offer him a piece of hamburger. He growled as my hand approached, but gladly took the offered treat. I offered a second and a third. The growling stopped, the mad, glazing eyes cooled, and the tail began wagging. With help from McDonald’s, Devo and I began what was to be a life-long friendship. When we got home, it was “fun” letting him out of his cage and into my life.

During Devo’s career he made many felony apprehensions. If suspects run, hide or try to fight the dog, they get a 75-pound German Shepherd attached to them. Many of Devo’s apprehensions were made without bites. When they saw that big dog running full speed toward them they simply gave up. Many of them were so frightened by his appearance that, by the time I caught up to where Devo had them, they had the telltale wet spot on the front of their pants and some had an unpleasant odor about them….

On one special Code 3 call, we were called to assist SWAT in a foot pursuit of a homicide suspect who was possibly armed. We were close by and arrived in seconds. I saw the SWAT officers in full gear with their M-16’s chasing the bad guy down the street. They were yelling “stop or we will shoot.” The bad guy kept running. I jumped from my car with Devo at my side, and yelled, “Stop or I will send the dog!” The suspect immediately stopped and laid down on the ground. The suspect later told me he was more afraid of the dog than getting shot!

On another occasion, Devo found a suspect who was hiding in the bushes. The suspect was holding a gun under his chest. The suspect said that when Devo bit him he forgot all about the loaded gun, possibly deterring any searching officer from getting hurt.

We will never know how many lives Devo saved by locating concealed bad guys, but we all felt safer with him out front searching, rather than stumbling along blindly looking for a hidden suspect without him.

As Devo got older, he began to have trouble walking, especially after lying down for a while. He now was about 12 years old. One day he just collapsed on the floor and didn’t move. He was carried into the house and taken to the Vet where they took X-rays. They told us that Devo had arthritis in his spine. They gave us  medicine for him and it did help some. I enjoyed working with Devo, but what I will really miss is his companionship. It seems so unfair that such a wonderful animal has but a short time on this earth. The qualities that they possess by nature are so cherished, but rarely attained by humans - unconditional love and loyalty, to name two.

My wife was with Devo when he passed; she was holding him, stroking his fur and talking to him. It deeply affected both of us, but I am glad he didn’t have to go through it alone. This house will never be the same without him.

His tombstone will read: “Rest In Peace My True Friend.”
Rick Osborn - K9 Officer
Devo was 13 years old and faithfully served the City and Department


In Loving Memory of
K9 DUKO
date  2007


Handler:
Patrolman Steve Shepherd
 Meridian Police Department
Oregon

SUBMITTED PHOTO LOYAL PARTNERS Steve Shepherd and Duko in 1996 at the time of their teaming up
to be one of three K-9 units with the MPD.

The passing of a K-9 officer, friend - Handlers remember the contribution Duko made in Meridian
-
By Brian Livingston / staff Writer
Searching for an escaped felon in 1996, Meridian Police Department patrolman Steve Shepherd and his partner cruised in the downtown area of Meridian alert to anyone who seemed out of place.As they passed an area at the intersection of 20th Avenue and 10th Street, Shepherd noticed a form crouching in a small stand of trees. Stopping his cruiser, Shepherd, with his partner at his side, approached the form that slowly stood up as the officers closed in. It was the escaped felon.“I remember looking into his eyes at that moment and thinking this guy’s going to do something,” said Shepherd. “I didn’t know what it was going to be but I could feel he was looking for a way out.”  As Shepherd, his partner and the suspect faced each other — much like gunfighters on a dusty street in the Old West — the tension became ramped up with each breath they took. It was the outlaw who made the first move. “His hands were covered with his shirt and when he lunged at me, I could see he still had the cuffs on,” said Shepherd. The metal handcuffs turned from being an instrument of restraint into a weapon as the suspect apparently intended to use them to choke down Shepherd. That is when Shepherd’s partner, Duko, reacted with lightening speed.
The Belgian Malinois, 60 pounds of fur, teeth and muscle, launched himself at the suspect before he could get his hands on Shepherd. In the blink of an eye, the K-9 officer for the MPD had wrestled to the ground the 175 pound man, rendering him helpless. It was a small chore for Shepherd to apply more restraints on the suspect. Shepherd and Neal Grogan, Duko’s first handler with the MPD, shared stories recently about the best partner they ever had while cruising the streets of Meridian. Duko, who retired from the MPD in Oct. 2003, passed away last week as a result of complications due to an infection. He was 15 years old. “He was the most intelligent and loyal animal I’ve ever seen,” said Shepherd. “He could sense my emotions. He knew me. When the decision came last week to put him to sleep, he knew how I was feeling. He could sense how sad I was. It was a very hard decision to let him go, but he was suffering so much.”  Duko was laid to rest behind Shepherd’s home. It was just he and Grogan who said the final good-bye to an officer they considered the most trusted partner they may ever know. But since then, the two men have come to reflect on the work Duko did and the role of other K-9 officers serving with law enforcement agencies around the world. “What can you possibly say about and officer, a partner that has such a calming effect on situations,” said Shepherd. “I had this sense of safety and confidence with Duko unlike any other I’ve felt since.” Duko was acquired for the MPD through a fund raising program begun by Grogan. Grogan still has the receipts and copies of checks written by business owners and private citizens in 1994 totaling $6,000. The money raised went toward purchasing Duko and training him for the role he’d play the next nine years with the MPD. “We, canine handlers, have always had to work against the stigma that came from the racial riots of the 1960s where dogs were let loose on civilians,” said Shepherd. “That is not what K-9 officers are used for today.”  Duko, like the vast majority of K-9 officers, are trained in apprehension, handler protection, tracking and drug interdiction. Other uses include bomb detection and searching for deceased people. Belgian Malinois are becoming more favored by law enforcement agencies because they are hard working, intelligent and tough as nails. Their aggressive behavior, often misread by the general public, is rarely called upon. In the nine-year police career Duko enjoyed, he was let loose three times to run down suspects fleeing officers. One of those instances Grogan called Duko off just as the suspect surrendered.
“I yelled the command to stop and he halted in mid stride,” said Grogan. “But the effect of a dog in that situation was immeasurable. This guy knew if he didn’t give up, he’d get taken down by Duko.”  In addition to the aforementioned incident in which Duko saved Shepherd from certain bodily harm, the K-9 officer, without orders, saved his handler on numerous other occasions. In every case, the suspect was apprehended without much more than a bruise on the arm.  Grogan said he did more narcotics work with Duko than any other form of police work in the two years they were teamed up. He said there is no way to determine the total amount of drugs, drug money and guns Duko discovered.
In April 1996, Grogan left the force and Shepherd took over as Duko’s handler. “Yeah, when that happens, you have to train the handler, not the dog,” Grogan said poking fun at his friend. “Duko already knew what to do.” Handlers and their furry partners train hard together to become a team. Each must learn to trust each other and know their partner’s strengths and weaknesses. Situations on the street can change in the blink of an eye. “I have a lot of friends who are police officers and this isn’t a knock against people but K-9 officers will put themselves in the line of fire in a heartbeat,” said Shepherd. “They don’t think. They don’t hesitate.” In many jurisdictions around the world, the life of a K-9 officer rivals that of their human handlers. An attack or the death of a police dog can carry the same penalties as if they were inflicted upon a human officer. But maybe one of the most unique aspects in the life of a K-9 officer is the fact they live with their handler. Shepherd said Duko couldn’t have been a better, more loved member of his family. “He knew when it was time to go to work and when to be just a dog at home,” said Shepherd. “He’d have kids hanging off him, other animals clawing at him trying to play and he’d just sit there and take it. Just as gentle as you’d want a dog to be. But let him see me with my uniform on. He knew then it was time to get serious.” Serious to Duko meant basically that it was time to take part in an elaborate game. Police dogs are trained to do their jobs by positive reinforcement. In other words, the serious work of being a police dog is a game to them, complete with toys the handlers carry around with them. “Whenever they do something good, like find drugs or take part in getting a suspect, we reward them by letting them play with their toy,” said Shepherd. “It might be a ball, a section of fire hose, anything they love. That is how they are rewarded.” Grogan and Shepherd see each other regularly while being a part of the 186th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard in Meridian. Shepherd still dons the blue uniform of an MPD officer on a part-time basis. But now a void has developed in the two men’s lives because of the relationship they had with Duko. “Would I ever be a handler for another dog? I honestly don’t know,” Shepherd said quietly. “There’s no way you can replace Duko. No way.”
   



In Loving Memory of
K9 DANNY
July 21, 2007

Handler: Cpl. Chris Hicks
Rocky Mount Police Department
331 S. Franklin St.
* PO Box 1180 *
Rocky Mount, NC 27802-1180 *
 Email:

Danny sacrificed his life for a fellow police officer last year, and his death has led to tougher penalties for people who kill K-9 officers.  Cpl. Chris Hicks of the Rocky Mount Police Department and Danny were chasing a suspect last July 21 when the man turned and fired at Hicks. Danny jumped in front of the bullet and died saving Hicks.  After hearing Danny's story, Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, introduced a bill to make killing a police dog a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. Previously, shooting a K-9 officer was equated to damaging police property since departments spend thousands of dollars and months of training on each dog. "We're sending a clear message that, if you do this, you are going to do time when you do it," Swindell said. The proposal was signed into law last month and takes effect in December.  Senior Officer Tim Braddy, the K-9 trainer for the Rocky Mount Police Department, said the new law is encouraging."Day in and day out, (police dogs) get in and out of these patrol cars. They put their lives on the line just like the police officers do to protect the citizens," Braddy said. "There is no other bond like it. That dog is there to protect you, help you and help the citizens."
Rocky Mount started its K-9 patrol unit in 1992. Danny was the first their first dog killed -- or even seriously injured -- in the line of duty, he said.  Hicks now has a new K-9 officer, named Chance, by his side. Community donations helped pay for the dog's training.


In Loving Memory of
K9 DUSTY -
SAR-WTC
 1995 - March 12, 2007
 
Captain Dave Stoddard
California Task Force 7 Sacramento
Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District
Special Operations

Local K9 Deployed at World Trade Center Dies
DUSTY WAS ONE OF THE VERY FIRST DOGS TRAINED BY THE NATIONAL DISASTER SEARCH DOG FOUNDATION
As all of you know by now we in the Metro family, NDSDF, OES, FEMA, and CA-TF7 have suffered a huge loss.

On March 12th at about 7:30 in the evening Dusty, one of our veteran search canines, was struck by a vehicle in front of Station 62.  Dusty was on duty with her handler and partner, Captain Randy Gross, at the time.  Dusty sustained severe trauma to her lungs and was rushed to the Sacramento Veterinary Surgery Center where she suffered a heart attack secondary to the accident and passed away March 13, 2007 at about 1645 hours. Ironically, Randy had just announced Dusty’s retirement at a National Disaster Search Dog event in Seaside, Monterey County, on March 10, 2007.  After more than 10 years of intense training and dedicated service, Dusty was going to take it easy and become a family dog. What a lot of you don’t know is the rest of the story. Dusty and Randy deployed to the World Trade Center with California Task Force 7 on September 11, 2001.  It was there that she became one of the most photographed dogs in the nation.  Dusty has been honored by the Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA) and was featured on their website. Her TV credits include an appearance on Animal Planet. She also closed the New York Stock Exchange on September 19, 2001, the only canine to be asked to perform such an honorable task. Not to mention many political leaders have given Dusty a well-deserved pat on the head including President Bush (twice).

Dusty, born in 1995, was one of the very first dogs trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, established by Wilma Melville, for the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Program.  In 1997 Dusty, along with Ana and Harley, were the first three dogs recruited for training and use in the US&R arena.  All of these dogs were assigned to firefighter handlers from California Task Force 7 in Sacramento.  Ana and Captain Rick Lee of Sacramento Fire, as well as Harley and Assistant Chief Rob Cima of El Dorado County Fire, experienced the same level of success as Randy and Dusty.  The combination of firefighter handlers and highly trained dogs like Dusty was new to the disaster search world.  The Foundation Program and the dedication of all of the canine search teams have contributed to a remarkably successful program that has changed the way we in USAR conduct operations.
Dusty and Randy learned their trade from a legendary team in the dog world, Pluis and Kate Davern.  Under the watchful direction of Pluis, Dusty honed her skills in new areas the would eventually produce one of the finest search dogs in the Nation, while Randy learned the subtle art of ducking and dodging from the correcting hand of Pluis. Randy learned obedience and how to respond to Dusty’s “directional control” and “bark alert”.  When Dusty found a victim she would let Randy know by strong repeated bark.  For those of you that understand canine training, the USAR dogs that come out of the Foundation all have very strong “toy drive”.  Like a lot of firefighters I know; Dusty would work her tail off for a little recognition and her
toy. 
Dusty’s formative years were reported to be entertaining for the Foundation, Sundowners Kennels, and Randy.  Golden Rescue in Salinas, CA donated Dusty to the Foundation and they sent her to the Sundowners Kennels.  The one two punch of Sundowners and the Foundation provide a nice mix of boot camp, charm school, and finishing school all rolled into one.  Dusty was a little larger than some search dogs - those of us that were friends like to say she was big boned.  She had high energy and drive; both great qualities for a rescue dog; but challenging for a handler.  Stories abound of being out of control, not responding to commands, and refusing to stay on a leash. But eventually they were able to get Randy trained. Dusty had similar problems too!
The handlers tell me that one of the secrets to the success of the Foundation is the marriage - the special relationship between the handler and dog.  I don’t know if Wilma, Pluis, or match.com arranges the match; but you can’t argue with success.  Randy and Dusty were paired up in 1997 and went on to set the standard in this new experimental program; clearing the path for future Fire Fighter teams to follow.  I always called her his girlfriend, sorry Donna.  The depth of their relationship cannot be understated. 
Two such examples - during a fairly recent training I watched as Dusty and Randy worked a pile.  The seemingly effortless manner in which handler and canine searched and communicated was truly inspiring.  The familiarity between the two could only come from years of constant work, training and understanding. During the search, Dusty would react to the subtle changes in Randy’s body language that years of experience had taught how to respond without any verbal direction. Randy would watch and know what the slightest lift of her head, twitch of her tail, or position of her body meant.  It was these slight, intuitive signs between dog and handler that controlled the search. When Dusty found a victim and was waiting for her reward (remember the toy) her whole body would shake, her tail would wag, her jaw would quiver (sounds like Randy at a CE)…At her age (no I won’t tell) she could still give the young pups a run for their money.  I don’t know who was happier Randy or Dusty.  Another such example was in the early stages of 9/11 - The Blue Rescue Team of TF7 was working the night shift and searching in the lowest levels of the WTC complex some 6 stories below ground.  We were searching the subway terminal and as Dusty approached one of the train cars she stepped off of the platform and onto what appeared to be a solid surface of a slightly darker color.  The area she stepped into was actually the subway track some 5-6 feet deep filled with sludge - a mixture of water runoff from the ongoing firefight and all of the oil, gasoline, and other products that a 6 story underground parking garage produce.  She had a difficult time getting out of the water filled track area due to the darkness and all of the colors blending together in the glow of cyalume sticks and flashlights.  When she finally made her way out of the goo my first thought was “when did Randy get a black lab” or “my black really does make you look thinner”.  Dusty was covered in sludge and the only thing you could see of her, given the dark eerie lighting, was her tongue and her eyes.  Dusty did not seem the least bit concerned, she was pulling on her leash, and wanted to continue the search.  She knew the job wasn’t done.  She had unbelievable drive that one. The team was now 6 stories below grade and the decon area was at ground level several blocks away.  Our adventure into the subway took several hours and Randy and I were concerned that whatever she was contaminated with could cause some serious issues.  We made our way out to TF7 forward Base of Operations (BoO) in about an hour.  The most direct route out took us thru some areas that were still smoldering, very hot, and covered with soot.  Dusty was trying to rub against anything and everyone that she could in order to get the stuff off of her.  The FEMA system provides a VMAT (Veterinary Medical Assistance Team) on such incidents and they were waiting for Dusty when she got there.  They tried several different brands of soap - liquid, solid, and other dog shampoos but nothing would cut the oil.  Nothing worked at the VMAT BoO so one of Metro’s very own, Ray Winsor recommended that Dusty try some of the citrus-based liquid hand degreaser in the cache at our BoO.  Dusty received a military escort several blocks back to our BoO at Church and Dey Streets.  Dusty soon had a glowing grey coat and the drive to search.  Being the dedicated team that Randy and Dusty were they finished their shift at about 0800 hours that morning.  Later that same morning a rep from the VMAT team recommended Randy to try some “Dawn” liquid detergent.  While this isn’t a product endorsement, it worked.  They use Dawn to decon animals contaminated in crude oil spills.  The girl had a way of making a big splash. 
The life of a canine search team is incredibly sexy (read with sarcasm here).  The first two to three years are filled with at least 20-30 hours of training every week, hundreds of miles of travel in order to find “the right pile”, and thousands of dollars of expenses in food, vet care, canine accoutrements, and the like: And all of this before you have even been certified.  (Remember, us firefighters are all about the reward - that period when preparation meets opportunity at a disaster).  After you’re certified, 5-10 hours of training every week with all of the same travel and care expenses. 
A big tip of the hat to Randy, Dusty, and Wilma Melville the founder of the National Disaster search dog foundation, as well as Debra Torsch the current executive Director, and every canine search team out there.  Dusty as the first, you have set the bar high - THANKS! Dusty’s drive to search, commitment and trust in Randy, led to a unique team.  She would search anything, anywhere, anytime without hesitation under extreme conditions As a Search Team Manager, as a friend, I will miss her.


In Loving Memory of
K9 DUKE
December 26,1994 ~ January 9, 2007

Handler: Officer Timothy Currier
Greenfield Police Deparment
321 High Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Phone: 413-773-5411 - Fax: 413-774-6969
E-Mail: largsarg@valinet.com

“K-9 Officer Duke” served on the Greenfield Police Department K-9 Unit from December of 1995 through 2003. He was a faithful partner and best friend to his handler, Officer Timothy Currier. Duke was born in April of 1994 in Gill, MA and, sadly, passed in January 2007. He is greatly missed by so many of his family and friends. He will remain in the hearts of all who knew him for years to come. submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA


In Loving Memory of 
K9 DAKOTA
December 2007

Handler: Officer Scott Durano
 Oak Forest Police Department
15440 South Central Ave
Oak Forest, IL 60452
Phone: 708-687-4050   Fax: 708-687-8817

City's first police dog loses battle with cancer
Dakota, the Oak Forest Police Department's first canine officer, recently died of cancer. Whether it was following the scent of a human, illicit drugs or protecting his handler, canine officer Dakota was very good at his job and enjoyed his work. Dakota, the Oak Forest Police Department's first canine officer, died late last month after a bout with cancer. He was just shy of his 11th birthday. He had been with the department since 1998, and spent all of his time, on and off duty, with officer Scott Durano. Dakota worked until he was retired in 2006. He had begun to slow down, but his retirement was more due to Durano's dwindling time in the field.  Dakota took ill in late September last year and was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of cancer, Durano said. Initial chemotherapy treatments seemed to help. But just as he was getting better, Dakota fell ill again. Veterinarians at the University of Illinois in Champaign found tumors throughout his abdomen and his prognosis was not good. After bringing Dakota home for a few last days with the family, Durano thought it best to euthanize his canine companion. Besides being a valued professional partner to Durano for more than nine years, Dakota became every bit as much a companion. "I spent more time with him than I did with my family. I worked with him for eight hours a day, and was off with him for eight hours a day. When I went to bed, he was right by my side. He was like an extension of my left arm. This was one of the hardest things I've had to do," Durano said of deciding his dog should suffer no longer. Dakota was born in Germany and received his initial training there. He was then brought to the United States where he received additional training at the Landheim Training Center in Dyer, Ind. Besides his typical police work, Dakota often displayed his abilities at local fairs, block parties and DARE functions. He would work with other agencies to help in their investigations, and was even deployed with Durano from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. Durano called his time with Dakota one of the greatest career opportunities he could have hoped for. Even when Durano was feeling down, his friend was there to pick him up. "Working with him was such a great joy. When you're feeling bad, he was always there to give you a lick on the face and push you to get going. He was my partner but he was also my best friend." A memorial tribute to Dakota's life and career is being organized by the department.  submitted by Jim Cortina


In Loving Memory of 
K9 DOMINO
March 13, 2004 - November 10, 2007

Handler: Officer Matthew Smith 
Waturbury Police Department
255 East Main Street
Waterbury, CT. 06702

Police Dog Killed, Officer Injured In Collision With Cadillac
A police car was struck by another vehicle early Saturday, and the collision injured both drivers and killed a police dog riding in the cruiser, the Waterbury Police Department said. The accident happened around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Highland Drive. Police said Officer Matthew Smith and his K9 partner, Domino, were rammed by a Cadillac driven by 19-year-old Micah Bonacassio. The Cadillac had one passenger, Jason Giordano of Watertown, police said. All three men were in stable condition Saturday. Domino died in the collision. Meantime, Bonacassio's family has hired a lawyer and said they plan to sue the Waterbury Police Department. Bonacassio and Giordano said Officer Smith ran a stop sign before colliding with the Cadillac. The crash remains under investigation. 
submitted by Jim Cortina

***********
 another report similar........ Friday, November 16, 2007
Over 250 Attend Funarel/Memorial for Officer "Domino" K9 dog  see BLOG
 The Waterbury Police Department said Saturday it is investigating a crash that left a K-9 officer dead and sent three people to the hospital. They said the crash happened at about 3 a.m. at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Highland Drive. Officer Matthew Smith, a five-year veteran of the Waterbury Police Department, was traveling east across Highland Avenue from Highland Drive to Vail Street when his police cruiser was struck by a 1994 Cadillac Seville traveling north on Highland Avenue. Micah Bonacassio, 19, of Thomaston, was driving the Cadillac with Jason Giordano, 22, of Watertown, when he hit Smith's cruiser. The impact killed a K-9 officer, Domino, and left Smith and Giordano in stable condition at Waterbury Hospital and Bonacassio in stable condition at St. Mary's Hospital. No charges have been filed and the accident remains under investigation. submitted by Jim Cortina


In Loving Memory of 
K9 DAKOTA
October 23, 2007

Heavily armed officers and the police tracking dog Dakota prepare to enter a wooded area east of Caples Road in Brush 

Prairie moments before being shot to death. Police blame the man being sought, Ronald James Chenette, who was arrested.

Handler: Officer Roger Evans 
Vancourver Police Dept.
312 Main Street - Vancouver, BC V6A 2T2
Headquarters:  2120 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4N6  -  phone  604-77-3321- Canada

Brush Prairie, WA, man arrested after police dog shot dead
Dakota was known for his crime-fighting feats.  The tracking dog Dakota was shot and killed Tuesday as teams of SWAT officers closed in on an armed convicted murderer -- who allegedly had told an acquaintance he wanted to “kill a cop.” Dakota, a 5-year-old German shepherd owned by the Vancouver Police Department, was killed about 2 1/2 hours after police were called to the Lewis & Clark Railway Co. tracks just east of Northeast Caples Road in Brush Prairie. No one else was reported injured during the manhunt, which ended with the alleged gunman’s arrest. Police fired no shots. About 1:50 p.m. Tuesday, an acquaintance of suspect Ronald James Chenette called 911 to say Chenette was carrying a loaded .357 Magnum handgun and had threatened to harm police. Chenette, 38, who lives in the area, was reported to be headed to the Brush Prairie Market on Caples, said Sgt. Tim Bieber with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. As officers and heavily armed SWAT team members rushed to the scene, Chenette was spotted along the tracks a quarter mile east of Caples. He then ran into a wooded area to the north, and officers took positions around the area, Bieber said. Laura Hall, who works for Curves for Women, a fitness shop near the tracks, said she’d been outside when she heard what was happening. “The sheriff’s deputy told me ‘Get back in the building, there’s a man running around with a gun,’” Hall said. Officers sealed off the wooded area behind the Country Manor mobile hork and Bethel Cemetery, and called in at least one fixed-wing aircraft. The airplane is equipped with forward-looking infrared that can sense body heat, Bieber said. About 5 p.m. Tuesday, teams of officers who were combing the wooded area radioed they were closing in on Chenette. One officer said, “We’re going to try and pinch this guy into as small of an area as possible.” Officers radioed they’d heard a single shot near them about 5:15 p.m., and that Dakota hadn’t returned when they called him. Minutes later, officers yelled that they were struggling with Chenette and had used a Taser electronic weapon, and that he’d been taken into custody.  Officers then said they were looking for the handgun Chenette had been carrying, and for Dakota. About 5:42 p.m., an officer, believed to be Dakota’s handler, Vancouver police Officer Roger Evans radioed that the dog had been found dead. “Don’t bring the litter, I’ll carry him out,” the officer said. Chenette was taken by ambulance to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he was treated for dog bites, Bieber said Tuesday night. After that, Bieber said, Chenette was to be taken to the Clark County Jail on suspicion of several crimes. Chenette has a string of convictions, for second-degree murder, second-degree assault, burglary and other crimes, Bieber said. In 1991, Chenette was convicted of a murder that had occurred in Clark County in 1987, according to public records and Columbian files. In that case, Chenette and a friend had gone to Portland and bought $20 worth of marijuana from Portland resident James Turner, 20. After deciding that Turner had cheated them, Chenette and the other man, Todd Edward Hiivala, drove him to a remote area outside Battle Ground and told him to walk home. A fight then erupted and Chenette and Hiivala stabbed Turner to death. Hiivala was sentenced to 69 years in prison. Chenette pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, a reduced charge filed because he testified against Hiivala. Chenette then was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Dakota, who worked with Evans about three years, was mentioned in The Columbian several times this year: in September, catching two men who fled from police, causing an officer to roll his patrol car; in June finding a burglar in the attic of Mill Plain United Methodist Church; in March, finding an alleged burglar who threw a gun out of a car and fled on foot. Dakota’s death saddened many officers, Bieber said. “We’re obviously upset over the loss of Dakota, but we’re grateful that none of our officers were shot and killed.” Chenette, who has long dark hair and often wore a black leather vest and black pants, was often seen walking along the tracks to his home near the mobile home park, said Lyle Kargel, operating manager of Air-America Inc. in Brush Prairie. Some folks called Chenette “Black Bart.” Several Brush Prairie residents said Chenette seemed to have mental problems. 
UPDATES
Dakota hailed as fantastic police dog - Vancouver police Officer Roger Evans demonstrates the lifting method used with his partner, Dakota, in June. Dakota was shot and killed during a manhunt Tuesday.Clark County Deputy Rick Osborne and Kane perform a tracking sweep near Northeast 88th Street and St. Johns Road during a weekly training exercise for city and county K-9 teams Wednesday. The day before, Vancouver police dog Dakota was shot and killed while tracking an armed suspect.Clark County sheriff's Deputy Ed Bylsma knew that Dakota would make a fantastic police dog when he picked him out at the kennel. Sure enough, the German shepherd aced master trainer Bylsma's 10-week training class and served the Vancouver Police Department with distinction. "Dakota was an exceptional dog," Bylsma said. "He loved what he did, and he was very good at what he did." Dakota died Tuesday, shot in the head as he tracked an armed suspect who allegedly threatened to "kill a cop." Those who knew Dakota described the situation as bittersweet. Although saddened by the dog's death, they pointed out that Dakota had done exactly what he was trained to do, possibly saving lives in the process. "That dog took a bullet for everyone out there, including the suspect," said sheriff's Sgt. Tim Bieber, who had served with Dakota and his handler, Vancouver police Officer Roger Evans, on the regional SWAT team. If not for the dog, an officer could have shot - or been shot by - the armed suspect. "We are in a profession where these things unfortunately happen and we know the dogs are a tool we can use," Bieber said. "We know we'd rather this happen to one of the dogs than a deputy." Born in Slovakia in July 2002, Dakota took his 400-hour basic training with Evans in 2005. Dakota and Evans joined the SWAT team in July 2006. Vancouver's four-dog class of 2005 had restarted a police dog program inactive since 2004, when the department's only police dog died. The outpouring of community support that followed K-9 Captain's death helped Vancouver buy and train the four dogs. The police department then reached out to local elementary schools, letting students name two of the dogs. A fifth-grade class at Marshall Elementary School chose the name Dakota. "It was so much fun for the kids to come up with the name," said David Gifaldi, the class's teacher at the time. "When 'Dakota' was chosen, the kids were obviously delighted." Officers took Dakota to visit the fifth-graders, answering questions and demonstrating commands. "They were amazed that the dog would do what Dakota did," Gifaldi said: "Be on the front line and take a bullet to protect its master."
When Gifaldi learned of Dakota's death, sadness and joy hit him at the same time. "Hearing that, the faces of the kids flashed before my eyes," he said. "I thought how wonderful a day that was." Despite Dakota's talent as law enforcement ambassador, plenty of people would have preferred never to have met him. That's because the dog tracked down suspects in more than 100 cases and sniffed out drugs 150 times, according to Vancouver police data. The police department has set up a fund to replace Dakota, said spokeswoman Kim Kapp. It's too soon to say whether Evans would partner with a new dog, she said. "He's at home with his family," Kapp said. "It's definitely had a huge impact with him and his family." Dakota lived with Evans, his wife and three other dogs - a pit bull, a malinois that retired from the Secret Service and a papillon. Before a dog begins training, it spends a week or two just bonding with its new partner, said master trainer Bylsma. Once on the job, dog and handler can spend 14 or 15 hours per day together. "We get a really tight bond formed," said, Bylsma, handler of Hans, a malinois. "We have to treat them like working dogs, but we love them just like a family member. "When you lose one, it's really hard." The Vancouver Police Department has established a memorial fund to buy another tracking dog. Donations of cash or checks payable to "Dakota Memorial Fund" can be dropped off at the Bank of Clark County branch at 1400 Washington St. in Vancouver or mailed to Bank of Clark County, attention Dakota Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 61725, Vancouver, WA 98666-1725. Donation envelopes can be obtained at any Vancouver Police precinct between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The police department cannot accept donations directly.

Latest follow up:
When Vancouver police Officer Roger Evans and his dog Dakota were hot on a suspect’s trail, Evans sometimes wondered if Dakota’s sensitive nose had missed something. What if Dakota had zigged when the bad guy had zagged? And Dakota would sense his concern, Evans told a crowd of several hundred people Monday evening, during a remembrance for the slain German shepherd at Fort Vancouver High School. When Dakota felt Evans’ concern, he’d start sniffing even closer to the ground, and would pull harder on his leash. It was as if to say, “Trust me, Dad, he’s not far away,” Evans told the audience. In fact Dakota turned out to be right in such cases about 100 times during his career, which lasted barely over a year. The dog was shot and killed Oct. 23 in Brush Prairie, as he and Evans were pursuing an armed and intoxicated convicted murderer who allegedly had said he wanted “to kill a cop.” Dakota had been let off-leash as officers closed in on the suspect in a wooded area. An official said Monday that Dakota is believed to have grabbed the man, and to have been shot once in the head and killed instantly, while “still on the bite.” Moments later, Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Earhart and his dog, Akbar, reached the suspect, who still had a .357 Magnum handgun in his pocket. Officers then took the man, Ronald J. Chenette, into custody. Many officers believe that by “taking a bullet,” Dakota saved people’s lives that day. Vancouver Police Department Chief Clifford Cook told the crowd Monday that many more K-9 officers and their dogs than expected, from the United States and Canada, had traveled to Vancouver for the remembrance. The visiting and local officers, in their rugged green or black K-9 handler uniforms, filed quietly down the aisle of the auditorium to reserved seats. No official count was available, but it looked like 75 or more. Vancouver police Sgt. Joe Graaff, a supervisor of the K-9 program, had to pause and fight back tears as he described Dakota’s and Evans’ service together. Graaff laid out the many hours of training required to be a tracking dog team, and more training to sniff out illegal drugs. And it took still more training to be part of the Southwest Washington Regional SWAT Team, which is sent to the most dangerous calls. But for all that, officers said, Dakota loved what he did for Evans. “A dog is one of the few creatures on Earth who love you more than you love yourself,” Cook said. And Evans, his voice breaking, told the handlers that, regardless how much they love their police dogs, the animals’ job is to save human lives. “When the situation is appropriate, don’t hesitate to send your dog,” Evans said. Officers gave several examples of Dakota’s courage and devotion to his job:

Keeping his jaws clamped on a suspect as they fell through a ceiling, a drop of about 10 feet. Finding a suspect in an area that officers had already combed. Being sent into an upstairs apartment to locate a suicidal man with a shotgun, a perilous job that ended well. With a career like that, it was only natural that Evans accepted many honors on behalf of himself and his partner. Besides an outpouring of community donations, the off-leash area of Pacific Community Park will be named in Dakota’s honor, said a representative of Dog Owners Group for Park Access in Washington, called DOGPAW. Dakota also is getting a medal of valor, and his name will be inscribed on a K-9 memorial at the Law Enforcement Academy in Burien, said an official with the Washington State Police Canine Association. There’s a purple heart from the Vancouver Police Department. A painting of Dakota was presented to Evans at the remembrance, and another woman plans to paint a second. Near the end of the remembrance, as audience members wiped away tears, Evans gave Dakota a final tribute: “Thank you for being a warrior and dying as a hero,” Evans said. “Dakota, you were a good boy.” And according to tradition, a 911 dispatcher’s voice gave Evans’ police call sign, two-Henry-seven, and said, “Dakota is now 10-7,” meaning “out of service.”  submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA & Marti Tennant

UPDATE  -  Nov. 2008
Man accused of killing Vancouver K9
VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A man accused of killing a police dog would be sentenced to life in prison as a "three strikes" offender if he is convicted in Vancouver.  The 39-year-old Brush Prairie man, Ronald J. Chenette, was arrested in October 2007 by SWAT officers. A Vancouver police dog, 5-year-old German shepherd named Dakota, was shot in the head during the standoff.  The Vancouver Columbian says that at the trial beginning Wednesday the defense lawyer is expected to argue the shooting was self defense.  The paper says Chenette has two prior strikes for a 1991 murder conviction and a 2001 assault conviction.
Update: Nov. 28, 2008

Sculpture of fallen police tracking dog to be dedicated
11/27/08 - Washington - Dakota Killed in line of duty in October 2007
A dedication ceremony for a sculpture of a Vancouver Police Department tracking dog killed last year will be 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The ceremony will take place at the police department’s east precinct, 520 S.E. 155th Ave., the location of the sculpture. The sculpture will honor Dakota, a German shepherd shot once in the head by a fleeing suspect on Oct. 23, 2007. The suspect, Ronald J. Chenette, had hidden in a forested area and Dakota was instructed to find and apprehend him. Chenette was convicted of killing Dakota earlier this month and will be sentenced in December.
 submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA
update:

Man Gets Life For Killing Police Dog

5/15/09 - Oregon - Ronald Chenette

A man who was found guilty of shooting and killing a police dog in 2007 was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Police said that in October 2007 Ronald Chenette was armed with a handgun and hiding in heavy brush while SWAT teams and K-9 units searched for him. Officers said Chenette killed a police dog named Dakota with a single shot to the head before being taken down by a second dog. During the court case, Chenette told the judge he wished he'd killed the second dog. Police were searching for Chenette because he had been seen walking in the area with a gun, and when officers tried to approach him he pointed the gun at them and ran off. The conviction for killing Dakota was Chenette's third strike under Washington's Three Strikes Law. Police said Chenette had an extensive criminal history and was previously convicted of second-degree murder in 1991.
submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA


In Loving Memory of
K9 DUKE
2007

Handler: Sgt.Allen Cockfield
Miami-Dade Police Department
10800 SW 211th St
Cutler Bay, FL 33189-2805
(305) 378-4300


Sergeant Allen Cockfield of the Miami-Dade Police Department was recently charged with felony animal cruelty charges for allegedly kicking his K-9 partner Duke to death during an obedience training exercise with more than a dozen other police dogs and trainers present. The reason, according to an anonymous witness: Duke barked when he wasn't supposed to, so Cockfield hoisted the four-year-old German shepherd by the leash around his neck and repeatedly kicked him in a fit of rage until he lost consciousness. Duke reportedly died later at a veterinary clinic from injuries sustained during the attack. Following the incident, the Miami-Dade Police Department suspended Cockfield from duty without pay, and opened an internal affairs investigation of his violent actions. After his arrest, Cockfield was released on bail. Miami-Dade police told reporters that Cockfield, a veteran of the force with 27 years experience, is a model officer with a file full of commendations and no history of disciplinary problems. However, with more than two decades of K-9 training under his belt, it is possible that this is just the first time this loose cannon got caught or reported for abusing an animal. Duke had a heart attack from his brain being deprived of blood basically. Other officers tried to help but Duke was DOA. They have testified to the effect of Cockfield being arrested. No one wants to see Mr. Cockfield get away with this. I don't want him to take a  plead deal  in return for his pension and benefits when he gets out of jail. Those are our tax dollars. He deserves Nothing. Sergeant Allen Cockfield's trial is scheduled to begin on September 24th. Tel: (305) 547-0664  Please call or write to the state attorney asking her to push for the maximum with NO plea deals that will allow this man to get his pension and retirement benefits. Duke gets no benefits, never did.
Write to:
Katherine Fernandez-Rundle,
Felony Prosecutions & Administration,
E.R. Graham Building

1350 N.W. 12 Ave.
Miami, Florida  33136
Sergeant Allen Cockfield's trial is scheduled to begin on September 24th. 
Please write or call prosecuting attorney Isis Perez before then and politely ask 
that she seek the maximum penalty in the case against Cockfield.
Isis Perez - Public Corruption Unit
1350 N.W. 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136-2111 - Tel: (305) 547-0664

http://ga0.org/indefenseofanimals/notice-description.tcl?newsletter_id=10493728
We the undersigned want to see Allen Cockfield prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for his horrific crime in Miami Dade County  if and when he is found guilty. We Don't want to see him given the opportunity for  a Plea deal giving him a lighter sentence or any type of deal that would allow him to receive his pension or any benefits from the Department of Miami Dade Police. Furthermore, he should never be allowed back on the Dept. in any capacity or be employed in the county of Miami Dade. if for some reason he is no found guilty of this witnessed crime. We feel Duke was his partner and therefore this is a type of manslaughter. PLease don't let this slip through the cracks. submitted by K.Eastes

MORE update:

Felony Animal Abuse Why? This is beyond comprehension

I first received this information by e-mail on 10/12/07. I couldn't believe it. I worked with the K-9 teams here in Louisville, KY until my health became such that I couldn't go with them on Training Night and keep up with the pack. The human Officers here care for and about their canine partners with a zeal that I could wish to see in the civilian workforce.
Since I seldom believe everything I'm sent as an e-mail, I decided to delve into the report of the K-9's death and see what I could find out. I started my investigation on October 22, 2007 by calling the Prosecutor's Office in Miami. During that telephone call, I was told that they did indeed have a case against Sergeant Allen Cockfield for felony animal cruelty and killing a police dog. The case was originally scheduled for trial September 24th of 2007 but had been laid over until December 17th, 2007.
According to the original e-mail, the reason that Duke, a 4 year old German shepherd, Sergeant Cockfield's K-9 partner, was kicked to death was that during an obedience training exercise Duke barked when he shouldn't have. When Duke barked, Sgt. Cockfield, in a "fit of rage," jerked Duke up by the collar around his neck and then kicked him several times. At the time of Sgt. Cockfield's "fit of rage", there were other Officers and K-9s present in the training compound.
I next went to The Police News, a BLOG for policemen; they had a post (#143) up in regard to Sgt. Cockfield's arrest for kicking Duke to death. The report on Police News was quite short, simply stating that Sgt. Cockfield is a 27 year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department, had been a K-9 Officer and handler for 25 years and had been placed on administrative duty with pay during the investigation of the incident. The Police News report further stated that when Sgt. Cockfield realized that Duke was unconscious, he had rushed him to Knowles Animal Clinic. The Police News stated that their information had come from WPLG Local 10 News.
I sent WPLG Local 10 an e-mail asking for any follow up information they might have on Duke's death, including the necropsy report that Local 10 had stated was forthcoming. That was on 11/01/07. My reason for waiting was so that I could calm down and write a factual report. I am presently "owned" by 4 German shepherds and shepherd mixes, 2 of each, all animals I have rescued from intolerable conditions. It is inconceivable to me that kicking is the sort of "discipline" that is ever needed by either a canine or a child.
Tonight, 11/12/07, I telephoned WPLG asking for the information I had requested by e-mail. Even though I called at what was probably a most inconvenient time (right in the middle of the 6:00 PM news cast), Ms. Antonio was very polite, helpful, compassionate and professional. She e-mailed me the information I had requested.
The information Ms. Antonio sent comes from the Miami Herald, dated May 31st, 2007, section B-1 and is written by Mr. David Ovalle. It states that: Duke was killed by a lethally timed heart-disrupting kick delivered by his handler, Miami-Dade Police Sergeant Allen Cockfield. This means that the kick disrupted the electric flow of the heart, a painful but almost instantaneous death. There would have been no chance of resuscitation, even if canine CPR was started immediately. Duke would have yelped in pain, convulsed and died.
Mr. Ovalle's article goes on to state that Sgt. Cockfield denies kicking Duke and that his lawyer; Douglas Hartman has called Cockfield's arrest a "travesty of justice" he also stated "I'm stunned; I've never seen a case like this. He (Cockfield) is one of the best dog handlers in the department." He also suggested that Duke's death was due to a "genetic defect."
Interesting. However, Sgt. Cockfield is facing felony charges filed by the Miami Dade Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit for both animal abuse and killing a police K-9. I would expect him to refuse to accept his responsibilities by stating that he hadn't kicked Duke.
As for Mr. Douglas Hartman, he's a paid mouthpiece who is paid to try to make his client look good. I suppose one of his (Hartman's) defenses with be "But he was just a dog." Sorry, Mr. Mouthpiece, Duke was a heck of a lot more that that! He was Cockfield's PARTNER and deserving of the same respect. A simple but stern; "No!" "Bad Dog", "Down!" command would have had Duke groveling at Cockfield's feet in an attempt to apologize for upsetting his "God." Oh, by the way, Mr. Mouthpiece, the necropsy report states no evidence of genetic abnormality. 'Fraid you can't get away with that one either.
Duke cost the Miami-Dade Police Department $8,500, according to the Miami Herald. Actually, he cost the taxpayers of Miami-Dade. Now, due to one "person's" anger, the citizens of Miami-Dade are out 2 working police officers. The one that's in jail or out on bond, awaiting trial and the one who was killed in the line of duty.
Something else I found interesting; Duke was Cockfield's 4th dog in 25 years. In other words, a new dog about every 6 years. What happened to the others? 
The Prosecutor's Office is still taking comments with regard to Duke's death. If you write or call, please be polite.

Ms. Isis Perez
Public Corruption Unit
1350 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136-2111
Tel. (305) 547-0664


Thanks for reading.   Wolf~Walker

In Loving Memory of
K9 DRAGO
August 14, 2007

Handler: Cpl. John Lockhart

Florence Police Department
Chief of Police Tom Szurlinski
8100 Ewing Blvd
Florence, Kentucky 41042-7588
Phone: (859)647-5420. Fax: (859)647-5436


Florence police mourn loss of canine officer    By Jamie Rogers
Drago, a canine member of the Florence Police Department’s  Narcotics Division, died Tuesday after a sudden illness, Florence Police Chief Anson Shells said. Drago, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois, had been with the department about five years, working closely with her handler, Florence Police Cpl. John Lockhart.  The two could be seen around Florence in his cruiser which had her name written on the car’s passenger window.  “He’s hurt over the loss. I know he is really going to miss her,” Shells said. “Drago was very much a member of this department. She will be greatly missed just as any member  of the department is missed.”  Shells said Drago took ill during a training exercise earlier this week. She was immediately given water, but her symptoms became worse after she arrived home. “(Lockhart) was going to take her to the vet, but by that time it was too late,” Shells said. “She died of what is known as an inverted stomach. The condition is common in large breeds.” During her life at the department, Drago — who was trained as an apprehension, narcotics detection and tracking dog — directly contributed to the recovery of about $200,000 in currency. She also recovered about $500,000 in narcotics, and was responsible for the apprehension of a murder suspect, an vehicle theft suspect and a burglary suspect, Shells said. The department is working on finding a canine to fill Drago’s position. Shells said police will have to raise the money to buy and train another dog because there’s no money in the general fund set aside for that purpose. The department now has one dog, a bloodhound named Tracker. Drago is expected to be cremated at a later date. submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA

In Loving Member of 
K9 DIO
August 15, 2007

Handler: Officer Ronald Jenkins
Kansas City Police Department
1125 Locust St.
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 234-5000

Police canine dies in the line of duty
 A police dog died in the line of duty early Wednesday morning while pursuing three burglary suspects. Kansas City Police Department spokesman Darin Snapp said the incident happened around 1:45 a.m. It began when Officer Ronald Jenkins and his dog, Dio, responded to a burglary in progress at 2311 Jefferson St. A caller reported that three men had entered a vacant building and were stripping copper from the interior.  Snapp said as officers began to search the building, Dio picked up a scent and began following it to the upper floors of the building, running ahead of his handler, Jenkins. Three homeless men sleeping in the building told officers the suspects had run by them and gone out onto the roof. Jenkins and another officer located two suspects in the center of the roof and the third at the roof's edge. Then, another officer located Dio dead in the parking lot. It appeared the dog fell from the three-story roof. Officers are unable to determine how Dio fell. They said he could have not gauged the roof properly and simply overran it or been shoved off by the suspects. The three suspects were taken into custody at the scene. Snapp said Dio was 4 years old and had been assigned to Jenkins for a year and a half. He was a Belgian Malinois trained in patrol and narcotics. This is the first time a KCPD canine has died in the line of duty since Star, a German Shepherd,  was shot and killed in 1991.submitted by Jim Cortina, Dir. CPWDA  & Renee' Konias


In Loving Memory of
K9 DIXIE
June 29, 2007

Handler: Cindi Wood 

Durham Police Department
2400 Holloway St.
Durham, NC
27703-3318 -  Phone: (919) 560-4281 Died from BLOAT - would appreciate any further info.
submitted by Jim Cortina, CPWDA Dir.

In Loving Memory of
K9 DAKOTA
June 20, 2007

Handler: Jason Osborn 
Brookfield Police Department
63 Silvermine Rd
Brookfield, Connecticut 06804
(203)775-2576 
gastric torsion ( bloat )
The Brookfield Police Department has recently reinstated its K-9 program. Officer Jason Osborn has been selected as our handler. The dog, Dakota, was imported from Czechoslovakia. In March 2006, Officer Osborn and Dakota completed an 8 weeks Patrol/Narcotics course and hold certifications through the National Police Work Dog Association, and the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association. The police department is extremely grateful to the community for their generous contributions that have made this program possible. 
Officer Osborn and K-9 Dakota were able to:
      Track and find wanted criminals or missing persons in urban, rural or rugged wooded areas;
          Search all types of buildings for criminals in hiding;  Search for evidence or property connected with a crime;  Search for illegal drugs that have been hidden;  Chase and apprehend criminals escaping arrest who may be armed and dangerous; Act as a deterrent and back up in dangerous situations such as fights and disturbances; Provide high profile foot patrols of places such as the town green, schools and shopping plazas. submitted by Jim Cortina

In Loving Memory of
K9 DUSTY
February 1995 ~ March 2007
   
   
Handler: Capt. Randy E. Gross
Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District
2101 Hurley Way - Sacramento, CA 95825
 Contact Name: Deputy Chief Geoff Miller
Contact Phone: (916) 566-4000  -  Contact Fax: (916) 566-4200
Contact E-mail: miller.geoff@smfd.ca.gov  -  Fire Department Website: http://www.smfd.ca.gov

As all of you know by now we in the Metro family, NDSDF, OES, FEMA, and CA-TF7 have suffered a huge loss. On March 12th at about 7:30 in the evening Dusty, one of our veteran search canines, was struck by a vehicle in front of Station 62.  Dusty was on duty with her handler and partner, Captain Randy Gross, at the time.  Dusty sustained severe trauma to her lungs and was rushed to the Sacramento Veterinary Surgery Center where she suffered a heart attack secondary to the accident and passed away March 13, 2007 at about 1645 hours. Ironically, Randy had just announced Dusty's retirement at a National Disaster Search Dog event in Seaside, Monterey County, on March 10, 2007.  After more than 10 years of intense training and dedicated service, Dusty was going to take it easy and become a family dog.
********
What a lot of you don't know is the rest of the story...
.............

Dusty and Randy deployed to the World Trade Center with California Task Force 7 on September 11, 2001.  It was there that she became one of the most photographed dogs in the nation.  Dusty has been honored by the Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA) and was featured on their website. Her TV credits include an appearance on Animal Planet. She also closed the New York Stock Exchange on September 19, 2001, the only canine to be asked to perform such an honorable task. Not to mention many political leaders have given Dusty a well-deserved pat on the head including President Bush (twice).  Dusty, born in 1995, was one of the very first dogs trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, established by Wilma Melville, for the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Program.  In 1997 Dusty, along with Ana and Harley, were the first three dogs recruited for training and use in the US&R arena.  All of these dogs were assigned to firefighter handlers from California Task Force 7 in Sacramento.  Ana and Captain Rick Lee of Sacramento Fire, as well as Harley and Assistant Chief Rob Cima of El Dorado County Fire, experienced the same level of success as Randy and Dusty.  The combination of firefighter handlers and highly trained dogs like Dusty was new to the disaster search world.  The Foundation Program and the dedication of all of the canine search teams have contributed to a remarkably successful program that has changed the way we in USAR conduct operations. Dusty and Randy learned their trade from a legendary team in the dog world, Pluis and Kate Davern. Under the watchful direction of Pluis, Dusty honed her skills in new areas the would eventually produce one of the finest search dogs in the Nation, while Randy learned the subtle art of ducking and dodging from the correcting hand of Pluis. Randy learned obedience and how to respond to Dusty's "directional control" and "bark alert".  When Dusty found a victim she would let Randy know by strong repeated bark.  For those of you that understand canine training, the USAR dogs that come out of the Foundation all have very strong "toy drive".  Like a lot of firefighters I know; Dusty would work her tail off for a little recognition and her toy.  Dusty's formative years were reported to be entertaining for the Foundation, Sundowners Kennels, and Randy.  Golden Rescue in Salinas, CA donated Dusty to the Foundation and they sent her to the Sundowners Kennels.  The one two punch of Sundowners and the Foundation provide a nice mix of boot camp, charm school, and finishing school all rolled into one.  Dusty was a little larger than some search dogs - those of us that were friends like to say she was big boned.  She had high energy and drive; both great qualities for a rescue dog; but challenging for a handler.  Stories abound of being out of control, not responding to commands, and refusing to stay on a leash. But eventually they were able to get Randy trained. Dusty had similar problems too!  The handlers tell me that one of the secrets to the success of the Foundation is the marriage - the special relationship between the handler and dog.  I don't know if Wilma, Pluis, or match.com arranges the match; but you can't argue with success.  Randy and Dusty were paired up in 1997 and went on to set the standard in this new experimental program; clearing the path for future Fire Fighter teams to follow.  I always called her his girlfriend, sorry Donna.  The depth of their relationship cannot be understated. Two such examples - during a fairly recent training I watched as Dusty and Randy worked a pile.  The seemingly effortless manner in which handler and canine searched and communicated was truly inspiring.  The familiarity between the two could only come from years of constant work, training and understanding. During the search, Dusty would react to the subtle changes in Randy's body language that years of experience had taught how to respond without any verbal direction. Randy would watch and know what the slightest lift of her head, twitch of her tail, or position of her body meant.  It was these slight, intuitive signs between dog and handler that controlled the search. When Dusty found a victim and was waiting for her reward (remember the toy) her whole body would shake, her tail would wag, her jaw would quiver (sounds like Randy at a CE)...At her age (no I won't tell) she could still give the young pups a run for their money.  I don't know who was happier Randy or Dusty. Another such example was in the early stages of 9/11 - The Blue Rescue Team of TF7 was working the night shift and searching in the lowest levels of the WTC complex some 6 stories below ground.  We were searching the subway terminal and as Dusty approached one of the train cars she stepped off of the platform and onto what appeared to be a solid surface of a slightly darker color.  The area she stepped into was actually the subway track some 5-6 feet deep filled with sludge - a mixture of water runoff from the ongoing firefight and all of the oil, gasoline, and other products that a 6 story underground parking garage produce.  She had a difficult time getting out of the water filled track area due to the darkness and all of the colors blending together in the glow of cyalume sticks and flashlights.  When she finally made her way out of the goo my first thought was "when did Randy get a black lab" or "my black really does make you look thinner".  Dusty was covered in sludge and the only thing you could see of her, given the dark eerie lighting, was her tongue and her eyes.  Dusty did not seem the least bit concerned, she was pulling on her leash, and wanted to continue the search.  She knew the job wasn't done.  She had unbelievable drive that one. The team was now 6 stories below grade and the decon area was at ground level several blocks away.  Our adventure into the subway took several hours and Randy and I were concerned that whatever she was contaminated with could cause some serious issues.  We made our way out to TF7 forward Base of Operations (BoO) in about an hour.  The most direct route out took us thru some areas that were still smoldering, very hot, and covered with soot.  Dusty was trying to rub against anything and everyone that she could in order to get the stuff off of her.  The FEMA system provides a VMAT (Veterinary Medical Assistance Team) on such incidents and they were waiting for Dusty when she got there.  They tried several different brands of soap - liquid, solid, and other dog shampoos but nothing would cut the oil.  Nothing worked at the VMAT BoO so one of Metro's very own, Ray Winsor recommended that Dusty try some of the citrus-based liquid hand degreaser in the cache at our BoO.  Dusty received a military escort several blocks back to our BoO at Church and Dey Streets.  Dusty soon had a glowing grey coat and the drive to search.  Being the dedicated team that Randy and Dusty were they finished their shift at about 0800 hours that morning.  Later that same morning a rep from the VMAT team recommended Randy to try some "Dawn" liquid detergent.  While this isn't a product endorsement, it worked.  They use Dawn to decon animals contaminated in crude oil spills.  The girl had a way of making a big splash. The life of a canine search team is incredibly sexy (read with sarcasm here).  The first two to three years are filled with at least 20-30 hours of training every week, hundreds of miles of travel in order to find "the right pile", and thousands of dollars of expenses in food, vet care, canine accoutrements, and the like: And all of this before you have even been certified.  (Remember, us firefighters are all about the reward - that period when preparation meets opportunity at a disaster).  After you're certified, 5-10 hours of training every week with all of the same travel and care expenses. A big tip of the hat to Randy, Dusty, and Wilma Melville the founder of the National Disaster search dog foundation, as well as Debra Tosch the current executive Director, and every canine search team out there.  Dusty as the first, you have set the bar high - THANKS!  Dusty's drive to search, commitment and trust in Randy, led to a unique team.  She would search anything, anywhere, anytime without hesitation under extreme conditions As a Search Team Manager, as a friend, I will miss her.
Captain Dave Stoddard
February 1995 ~ March 2007
Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District
Special Operations
Back to Rainbow Bridge 
submitted by Renee' Kanias
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Visitor comments

"God Bless K9 Dusty who made this world a better place. Our prayers go out to all those that knew and worked with Dusty and the Gross family that lost a member.  Russ Hess, Director USPCA"  ->By Russ Hess on March 22, 2007 - 03:03
"All of us CERTs who worked with Dusty and Capt Dusty's Dad out at the cache will miss her delightful dogonality, her joy of life, and her incredible work ethic. She was a terrific dog and we all thought the world of her. Play and run free forever, sweet girl."
->By a Metro Fire CERT on March 22, 2007 - 02:03 "What a fine lady she was! God bless her and may she rest in peace after such a fine and noble contribution to all of us. Her legacy will benefit all K-9 programs nation-wide.


In Loving Memory of
K9 DANO
April 22, 2007


Handler: Richard Hope
Whitehall Township Police Department
Chief of Police  Theodore D Kohuth  (610)437-3042
3731 Lehigh St. 
Whitehall,PA  18052

GRIEVE NOT FOR ME

GRIEVE NOT FOR ME FOR IT HAS BEEN ORDAINED,
THAT MY JOURNEY HERE BE SHORT.
GRIEVE NOT FOR ME FOR MY LOYAL PRESENCE
WILL EVER REMAIN IN YOUR HEART.
I WAS SENT TO BE A GUARDIAN
FOR THE GUARDIANS OF LAW IN BLUE
A FEARLESS, NOBLE PROTECTOR
WITH A BOND THAT FEW CAN CONSTRUE.
WITH CHARACTER UNSHAKABLE,
AND SENSES THAT ARE WELL HEIGHTENED,
I WAS SENT TO BE A DEFENDER,
SO THAT YOUR BURDEN HERE WOULD BE LIGHTENED,
GRIEVE NOT FOR ME FOR IN HEAVENLY BLUE
OUR REUNION DAY WILL COME.
GRIEVE NOT FOR ME FOR AS PARTNERS AGAIN,
WE WILL DEFEND A GREATER KINGDOM.
~author unknown

TOWNSHIP OF WHITEHALL BUREAU OF POLICE   MEMORANDUM 2007-12
It is with deep sadness and regret that I announce the passing of retired Whitehall Police Canine Dano, Badge #53. Dano died of natural causes on Sunday, April 22, 2007, with his partner, Officer Richard J. Hope, by his side. Dano was born in Czechoslovakia in 1995 and served loyally and faithfully with the Whitehall Township Bureau of Police between 1996 and 2002.  Dano was the partner of Patrol Officer Hope and was certified in obedience, building search,tracking and personal protection. Dano enjoyed his retirement and remained loyal to his partner,Officer Richard J. Hope and family.  He will be missed.  submitted by Rich Garner

In Loving Memory of
K9 DAKOTA
April 14, 2007

Handler: Cpl. Michael S. Lamonto Badge# 416 
  City of Harrisburg / Bureau of Police 
Special Services Section / K9 Unit Supervisor 
123 Walnut Street 
Harrisburg, Pa. 17101

Canine Dakota of the City of Harrisburg Police, Pennsylvania passed away on April 14,2007. He became suddenly ill and medical treatment determined a cancerous tumor ruptured in his spleen causing his abdomen to fill with blood. Dakota died during emergency surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital. Dakota was eight years old and had been partnered with Cpl. Mike Lamonto since June of 2001. Dakota served as a patrol and explosives detection canine. He was an exceptional partner and loved family member. Dakota will be dearly missed but fondly remembered. K-9 Dakota followed K-9 Wodan when he retired. submitted by Curt Heckler


In Loving Memory of
K9 DIESEL
March 28, 2007

Handler: Chief Deputy Dennis Robinson
Lake County Sheriff Department
1153 Michigan Ave.
Baldwin, MI 49304
Farewell to a best friend: Ceremony honors memory of Lake County sheriff’s K-9 officer, Diesel 
 The Lake County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday laid to rest a well-liked officer who died in the line of duty during a tragic training accident. Deputies and police officers with black-banded badges came from as far away as Detroit to honor Diesel,Lake County’s K-9 officer who died March 28. Other K-9 officers from around the state stood at attention for an officer’s funeral for their fellow four-legged deputy, a funeral complete with a 21-gun salute from the Lake County Honor Guard. Diesel died when he choked on a ball that was given to him as a reward for performing a training maneuver. Deputies attempted CPR, but were unable to revive him. The sheriff’s office was able to purchase Diesel in 2005 after the community helped raise money. “You have all kinds of thoughts going through your mind when it happens, and all I can do now is remember the good times we had and move on,” said Chief Deputy Dennis Robinson, Diesel’s handler. “You can’t bring him back. He was one of a kind. He was special. “Guys go through a lot of dogs and every once in a while you get one that was special, and he was truly special. He loved to work and he’d work 24/7 if you let him.” Robinson was presented with an encased U.S. flag in honor of Diesel by the Lake County VFW post during the ceremony. Diesel had served as a building-sweeping dog in Iraq before coming to Lake County. Lake County Sheriff Bob Hilts said having a canine officer, which police write as “K-9,” on his department is needed given the nature of law enforcement in the small, rural community. “Dogs are essential to help find people to protect the officers,” Hilts said. “They’re invaluable to us up here. We have 10 people on the road; Diesel made 11.” Robinson said Diesel had a special personality and a desire to learn.“He was exceptional. He picked up on everything we taught him, and he loved to work so much that he’d do anything to please,” Robinson said. “To find a dog like that is like one in a thousand. And he was social, too. I couldn’t go anywhere in town, you know, the hardware or gas station store — without somebody coming up saying, ‘Open the door. I want to see Diesel.’ “People want to get him out and play with him. And he could do that. He could be nice and social and play with kids and the next minute go bite somebody.” The support he’s received since the accident and the loss of his partner has been overwhelming, Robinson said. “Our community is just awesome. You couldn’t ask for more support from my sheriff and my community,” Robinson said. “It’s a small town, but I tell you, when you need something, there are people always there for you.” Hilts, who had tears in his eyes as he memorialized Diesel at the funeral service, fondly remembered how seeing the dog brightened his day at work. “I will never forget him,” Hilts said. “While his time with us was short, he will always be remembered. “He had such a personality.” Quoting Will Rogers, Hilts said, “If there are no dogs in heaven, when I die, I want to go where they are.” About 100 community members and law enforcement officers filed into the Baldwin elementary school gym to pay their respects to Diesel. Dave Hojnacki and his daughter, Natalie, traveled from Luther for the service. Hojnacki, a former police officer from downstate, said a K-9 saved his life when he and his fellow police officers were surrounded by a mob of hundreds of people near Monroe. Neither he or his daughter had ever met Diesel, but he said he wanted to show his appreciation for Diesel — and by extension, the K-9 who helped him years ago. “That dog saved my life,” said a visibly emotional Hojnacki. “I’ll never forget that. I don’t know what would have happened if it hadn’t have been for that dog. “I’ll never forget the site of that boy.” Hojnacki told Robinson that a dog was “the best partner you could ever have.” Deputy Mark Ketz from the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office traveled with his partner, K-9 officer Ena, for Diesel’s officer funeral. Ketz and Ena had trained with Robinson and Diesel in the past. “I’ve been to two police officer funerals, but never one for a dog,” said Ketz. Ketz was joined by dog handlers from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Department of Public Safety; Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Wyoming and Sterling Heights police departments; and the Mason and Montcalm County sheriff’s offices. Other officers were from the Department of Natural Resources and the Detroit Police Department. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has started looking for another K-9 officer and is currently testing a dog, according to Robinson. “We picked up one a week ago that we’re doing some testing on now. He looks like he’s going to work out, but we’ll know in another week,” he said. Chief Dennis is training another K9.
submitted by Jim Cortina