SENT BY DAVE JOHNSON
This morning, just prior to the start of the County Chiefs Association, I was approached by the
Operations Bureau Commander
of the Union Township Police, Lt. Scott Gaviglia.
He wanted to thank me for the use of our K9 team last night. UTPD has 2 or 3 K-9 units but Gaviglia advised that they were all out of town on training drills or otherwise unavailable at the time.
There was a road rage incident about 2AM out on I-275 south of SR 125 in which the operator of one car threw a beer bottle at the victims car. Both cars pulled to the breakdown lane along the interstate where the victim ran back to the offenders car to confront the bad guy. When he got back to the offenders car, the offender, an ex-con with a lengthy criminal record, slashed him across the face and throat with a knife and fled the scene on foot into a wooded area.
Our K9 was dispatched out there, and after a one hour track through the woods, Jynx found the bad guy hunkered down in the middle of a briar patch. Gaviglia told me that all of his guys and several Hamilton County Deputies that were on scene were stunned at how well our dog performed.
Jynx, who to be frank, usually presents to me like someone's house pet, got so aggressive when she had the guy cornered that he submitted to arrest without further incident.
Nice job Matt; all that training and effort does pay off. You two made your team, our agency, the township, and our employers look great last night.
COURTESY OF CARL RODRIGUES
BY VICKIE JEAN DEHAMER, STAFF WRITER MORRISVILLE
The town swore in a different kind of police officer last month. He showed up unshaven, barked his oath, sniffed his badge and fidgeted for photos. But everyone let the behavior slide, knowing that for what he lacks in poise, he makes up for in results. "He's already paid for himself," said Police Chief Ira Jones said. Bruno, a $6,500 Belgian Malinois, was put to work in September. He was selected from five other candidates who were put though several K-9 cop tests.
Now he's awaiting his $700 bullet-proof doggie vest. He's already brought in $34,000 in drug money, the amount of cash that Bruno alerted officers was stowed in a car in Morrisville. The bills were dusted with narcotics -- Bruno's specialty. Trained in drug detection, tracking and apprehension, Bruno can sniff out heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. He can also track a suspect or missing person, chase and tackle a perp and take down anyone who attacks his partner, Officer Carl Rodrigues. "We have a strict no-horseplay-with-me-at-work rule," Rodrigues said. But he does do drills, including one involving an officer in protective gear who attacks Rodrigues.
Before the dog was imported by Triangle canine Mike Baker and
Marco van Hoof, Rodrigues went through a 12-week K-9 unit course
with the Durham Police Department and takes Bruno for weekly refresher
sessions. "The biggest thing with him is everything ends with a positive
reward," which usually comes in the form of a toy or a "bite reward,"
which involves Bruno chomping down on a padded sleeve, Rodrigues said.
Many of Bruno's commands are in Dutch, learned from D.A.C.H police-dogs
and services/ Marco van Hoof and Koen Lubbers. "Zit" means sit.
And "hoog" means jump. But whatever the language, Bruno understands he's
responsible for his partner's life.
"He has my back 100 percent of the time," said Rodrigues. "He's always there."Rodrigues and Bruno are the fourth canine unit the town's police department has deployed. The previous two canine cops were owned by the handlers, and left when their human counterparts relocated. Morrisville bought Bruno from a company that imported him from Holland. He was chosen for his breed characteristics and his temperament.
The department decided on a Belgian Malinois over a German shepherd -- a breed also notoriously talented at police work -- because the Malinois doesn't shed as much as shepherds and may be slightly less likely to suffer from hip dysplasia, a common ailment for both breeds.
"It's kind of like in law enforcement, what kind of side arm you like," Jones said. "The Belgian is a little more sleek, they're fast and a little more obedient." That's been the case so far, according to Rodrigues, who spends every waking moment with his new partner. Bruno moved in with the Rodrigues family in August. "He's with me 24-seven, from morning to night," Rodrigues said. "That helps the bonding process."
The duo's workdays include a few hours of training, in addition to a regular eight-hour shift. Bruno goes to calls with Rodrigues as well as "socialization" trips to schools, day cares and Sam's Club, where the employees have come to expect his four legs walking up and down the aisles. Bruno is allowed a lunch break like everyone else. It usually consists of two cups of dry food, and an unleashed stroll through the police department. Or he lays in the back of the patrol car, calmly snoozing while waiting for his partner. But Bruno's real joy is pleasing his humans the way he's been taught -- tracking and finding, followed by a reward. And every morning, when he sees Rodrigues comes down the stairs in his uniform, he's a different animal. "His temperament will change," Rodrigues said. "He knows it's time to go to work."