The Harris County Sheriff’s Office honored one of their fallen deputies, as well as 23 canine crime fighting deputies at a special ceremony held at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Academy in Humble.
Family and friends were on hand July 11 to witness the dedication of the Deputy Ron Hoyt K-9 Obstacle Training Course at the academy, 2316 Atascocita Road.
From 2001 to 2012, deputy Ron Hoyt trained every dog that came to the HCSO. In June 2012, Hoyt, 51 and only a few months from retirement from law enforcement, died in his sleep of a heart attack.
“He would be proud and extremely honored to know that his determination, dedication and the hard work he’d done for the K-9 Division are well recognized,” said wife Suwicha Hoyt, who cut the ribbon on the new training facility. “Canines were his passion and his life. The K-9 training facility sounds good, but the deputy Ron Hoyt K-9 Training Facility? It just doesn’t get any better than that. This will allow his spirit to live on through the K-9 Division.”
The training course was constructed off-premise by Harris County jail inmates.
Inmates worked on the project within the jail between January and May 2013, with each piece transported to the training academy.
Peru police have collected “good physical evidence” from an armed robbery Saturday night in which a police dog was killed, and detectives suspect the two robbers are part of an interstate ring.
Peru police chief Doug Bernabei said this morning that investigators led by Detective Sgt. Dennis Hocking are collecting and analyzing evidence from a holdup reported at 6:46 p.m. Saturday at the Verizon cellular telephone store located north of 38th Street and east of Route 251 near Staples.
Bernabei noted they retrieved “very good video surveillance” showing two black men in their 20s leaving in a bluish-green Chrysler minivan. Evidence suggests the Verizon holdup was by an “organized group conducting armed robberies of cellular stores across not only Illinois but the entire Midwest, especially along the Interstate 80 corridor.”
“I can say this was an especially dangerous and brazen crime,” Bernabei said. He said he could not yet disclose details of the robbery, but added, “It was a very, very terrorizing event for the people inside the store. From what we know these are very dangerous criminals.”
While the search goes on for the two suspects, Peru police are making arrangements, pending for Thursday, to honor the police dog killed during the response.
K-9 officer Art Smith, an 11-year veteran of Peru police, was headed north on Route 251 approaching 36th Street/Wenzel Road at 6:49 p.m. when a westbound vehicle entered the intersection and struck the right side of Smith’s cruiser, resulting in the police dog being ejected and fatally injured.
Smith was treated and released from Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru and awaits a follow-up visit today. His injuries were not serious.
The dog, Kali, was pronounced dead around 8 p.m. Kali, a female Belgian Malinois, was added to the Peru force last fall at a cost of about $12,000. Bernabei said Kali was fully trained for narcotics detection, searching and tracking. Kali is the first Peru police dog killed in the line of duty, Bernabei said.
Bernabei emphasized that neither Smith nor the westbound driver would be charged in connection with the collision. Smith entered the intersection through a red light but properly so, as his sirens and oscillating lights were activated and he was responding to an emergency call. The oncoming driver’s view was obstructed and the driver could not hear the siren or see the emergency lights.
“It’s just one of those very unfortunate things,” Bernabei said Saturday night. By policy, the accident has been turned over to state police.
While the motorist isn’t legally responsible for Kali’s death, the robbers would be so charged under the accountability theory. When apprehended, the suspects would face charges of armed robbery (base range: 6-30 years in prison with the possibility of firearm enhancements) and would likely face a charge of causing the death of a police service animal, a Class 3 felony carrying 2-5 years in prison.
Bernabei said police are in the early stages of planning a celebration of Kali’s service, which would be open to the public.
“On behalf of Art and Kali and everyone here at the police department, I want to extend my appreciation for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received from the community, not just in Peru but in the entire Illinois Valley area and beyond,” Bernabei said. “We’ve received thousands of Facebook postings, calls and e-mails. This has touched a lot of people and we appreciate the support.”
Information on the robbery suspects immediately was relayed all over Northern Illinois via the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network. Bernabei said investigators have been analyzing video from the Verizon store not only from the time of the crime but earlier, as well as video from nearby locations to try to identify the van or suspects and to determine if the suspects had been casing the business.
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – It may be hard to believe, but the county with the most square miles in the state and a growing drug problem does not have their own police dogs. An effort is underway to change that.
Marathon County Sheriff’s Department’s K9 Paws Enforcing Laws program is working to raise money to acquire and care for at least two police dogs. The Sheriff’s Department hasn’t had their own dog since the early 1990’s.
Chief Deputy Chad Billeb says the need is definitely there for police dogs, especially with the increased drug problems. “With the recent developments throughout the community, as many people know, the problems we’re having with controlled substances, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, the sheriff’s department feels that there is a significant need to get more dogs out on the street, and specifically into some of those rural areas that are underserved.”
With Marathon County Sheriff’s Department relying on other departments when they need a dog, Billeb says it makes it difficult with so many square miles to cover. “There’s a certain amount of time we have within which to make a stop, make contact with the operator of a vehicle, and then have a dog available for us, and out in the county, that isn’t always able to happen. We rely heavily on dogs from the metro area here, and on the west end of the county, in Abbotsford we have some access to the dog, and Marshfield’s dogs, but we do not have one at the department.”
It takes about $15,000 to acquire a police dog. The department is applying for local grants and funds that may be available through drug enforcement programs. When they are able to purchase a K9 officer, the Sheriff’s Department intends to use the same source that supplied many of the area’s other police dogs. “We would be sending our officer down to Indiana for six weeks to get acquainted with the dog and trained, and honestly, the officer has to be trained more than the dog does.”
Over the course of seven years, Billeb says they will need about $25,000 per animal. They are looking at eventually getting between two and four K9 officers due to the size of the county.
Figuring out which patrol officer will become a K9 handler is not easy. Interested deputies had to apply for the opportunity. “They have to submit a resume, they have to do a cover letter, and they will be going through an interview and selection process which is going to include officers from the local area who manager their K9’s to get a feel for which officers on the sheriff’s department would be best suited to have a dog.”
The K9 Paws Enforcing Laws effort is only a week old, but Billeb says several businesses and individuals have helped with their fundraising efforts. “The businesses that have stepped up really have just come to meet with us and provide ideas and resources, things that normally we wouldn’t have thought of on our own because they’ve got marketing professionals and professional writers that they work with who have really just given a whole lot of hope a lot of encouragement along the way.”
Marathon County Sheriff’s Department Paws Enforcing Laws has information on the department’sweb page, and on a special Facebook site.
MARQUETTE — It has been one year since the Marquette Police Department doubled their K9 reinforcements, and the crime fighters are making a difference. Frodo and Scud joined the department after the community stepped up to raise $30,000.
They work during the day and overnight and are capable of detecting ecstasy, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. The dogs are also trained to take down and restrain fleeing suspects. They’ve been dispatched to about 190 calls in the last year, according to Officer Todd Collins, who works with Scud.
“I personally believe that the drug crime has gone down here in Marquette city. I think it’s definitely made an impact on the city for the better, having both dogs,” said Collins.
The dogs and their handlers went through 200 hours of training before they hit the streets. The training continues every week. The K9s practice skills, like searching, for a minimum of 16 hours a month.
A burglar held the dog’s head under swampy waters 3 times, forcing the thick water into the dog’s lungs
ORLANDO — After scaling an 8-foot barbed-wire fence, then sprinting through thick brush and black muck to chase down a burglary suspect, Seabee, an Orlando police dog, had a brush with death, police said.
Seabee, a two-year-old German shepherd, cornered Landon Barnes in a swampy area near the Audubon Park neighborhood after the suspected burglar fled a home on Chelsea Street on Thursday, according to an Orlando police spokesman.
When the 18-year-old suspect ran into water that was so dark that police could not see below the surface, Seabee followed.
That’s when police say Barnes attacked the dog, dunking Seabee’s head into the water at least three times, forcing thick, mucky water into the dog’s lungs.
Barnes “held the dog’s head there attempting to drown and kill the K-9 dog,” spokesman Sgt. Jim Young said Friday.
Although Seabee was able to get away, when he emerged from the swampy area, he “began to convulse, displayed an unknown illness and was taken to receive treatment,” Barnes’ arrest report said.
Seabee, who has been with OPD for about 18 months, spent the night recovering in an animal hospital. He was released Friday with a high fever, Young said, and will be monitored to ensure he was not exposed to infection.
Seabee and his handler, Officer Tim Stanley — who also scaled the high fence in order to stay with his K-9 partner and ultimately apprehend Barnes — will be off duty for three days, Young said.
In an interview with police after his arrest, Barnes said he was drinking water from a resident’s hose, but never admitted going inside her home.
Homeowner Barbara Sills, however, had a different story.
She has been a victim of burglary in the past, Sills said, and when she came home to check her mail at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, she heard a back door slam and saw Barnes running away.
She chased Barnes until he jumped a fence, Sills told the Orlando Sentinel. At one point, she said, she was almost close enough to grab him by the shirt.
“I’m glad (Seabee) polished off what I started,” she said.
Barnes was bitten at least once in the struggle, Young said.
After a brief stay at Orlando Regional Medical Center, Barnes was booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of burglary, resisting an officer with violence and injuring a police dog. He is being held on $5,300 bail.
HOUSTON – Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Houston police officers captured an inmate on Monday evening in downtown Houston about two hours after he ran from deputies while being booked into county jail.
A HPD helicopter crew helped located Johnathon Richmond, 29, hiding in underbrush on the south bank of Buffalo Bayou at Austin and Commerce about 50 yards from the jail’s inmate processing center at 7:15 p.m.
The crew used thermal detection equipment to identify the escapee’s likely location and directed a boat crew and officers on foot to the inmate.
Richmond was returned to jail in a patrol vehicle. Investigators said he has used several aliases and was booked into jail Monday night as Timothy Sonnier, 31, police said.
In addition to the Jefferson County larceny warrant that led to his arrest during a traffic stop, he was also a fugitive on charges of aggravated robbery and injury to a child, deputies said. Harris County District Clerk’s Office records also show he was charged in Harris County with giving false information in 2013 and 2007 and marijuana possession in 2007 and 2002.
The man was charged with felony escape late Monday evening. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it will review booking procedures.
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