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Canine Trauma

K9 Officer Chico Finds Homicide Suspect

By Suzanne Jany

Hey all, thought I would share our long hard search for a wanted homicide suspect from today. Most of my dogs go to Police departments. This is what I started breeding for, and this is where my heart lies, so when they come through I am truly pleased.

No it's not a high in trial, or a 1st place at the N. Americans, but rather a great accomplishment at doing what we do best... protecting the public from harm.

Ed and I both got off duty at 0300 last night and were sleeping when the call came for us at 1000hrs. We were both exhausted and didn't hear the calls or initial pages. When Dispatch finally got a hold of us, we found out they had a wanted felon flee from a patrol Deputy and escape into the bush. It was already 30 minutes old.

We both geared up, grabbed the dog, and were on the road. We arrived in 8 minutes. We debriefed and headed off with dog, two deputies, and the two of us. We were in thick bush in minutes, and this was to last for 5 hours. (Let me tell you 5 hours hiking in heavy bush is hard enough without a gun at low -- ready and worrying about a suspect). The terrain was very rough, hilly, and swampy. We were mostly knee deep in it. Chico kept flushing him, and we could tell when he would hit pockets where the suspect had laid low.

This guy did not want us to find him. He would face the death penalty if we caught him. He had a history of firing at SWAT teams. After an hour of searching we though t it would be best to call in the SWAT team. We called them out, and they joined us in the search of the contained area. By now we had four agencies, the SWAT team , and 2 helicopters working. After another extensive seach we decided that Ed's dog was probably spent. We went back in with two separate fresh dogs, and no suspect. After all that we sent the SWAT team home, and reluctantly called the search off.

The press had a great time with it reporting how we lost him, and couldn't locate him.

I felt bad for the public as they were terrified that this dangerous guy was on the loose. (The press made sure of that.) This guy had nothing to lose. We fully expected to get a call of him holding a family hostage.

Ed's Chief (a female goooo girls!) decided that the best way to deal with it was to inform the public (what a concept) and so she had 4000 flyers printed with the guys picture and circulated it through the area and schools. Within 3 hours we had our first calls. The best one came in at 6 pm that he was in a car trying to hotwire it.

Ed arrived on the scene after having showered an changed, I was at the station on paper. He got a hot track through rush hour traffic, and off they went. Ed ended up going through a deep swamp and was up to his neck in water and mud. He had no choice but to cut the dog loose. Chico took off fast and would not wait for Ed. Ed was worried about traffic and at one point thought the dog was hit. Moments later he heard the screams "get him off me" "call off the dog" etc etc. Ed had a hard time making it through the bush to the suspect who kept fighting with Chico. Chico let go only to readjust every time the guy started kicking him. He stayed on until he was commanded to "AUS". He released at once, and our suspect was taken into custody.

Citizens were calling in worried, we were able to tell them that their police dog had come through. We never would have located him without the citizens help or the dog.

During the whole search the dog showed incredible stamina, working hard throughout. He stayed on the bite through the assault, and outed on command. I was so proud of my pup that I had bred, picked and raised.

I don't have a lot of Schutzhund dogs out there, but then again that is not what my goal was. Chico did me proud tonight, and I don't feel so bad that I never get to brag about titles on my dogs.

A sore and very tired good night!

Author Suzanne Jany is an officer with the Everett Police Department in Washington state. She breeds and trains German shepherds for K9, is an ardent Schutzhund decoy, and publishes the K9 Recruiter magazine.

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