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We want to thank all who have come out to join Bil-Jac Foods and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio who have come together today to Honor the German Shepherd in K-9 Police work in Northern Ohio. The Honor is based on their contributions during the calendar year 2012.



This year our first Honoree, K-9 BO and his Partner, Patrolman Bill Mackey, had many successful tracks. In one incident, they were deployed to apprehend a male suspect on an outstanding warrant. K-9 Bo tracked the suspect for approximately ½ mile through backyards. The suspect gave up when K-9 was approximately 50 yards away saying he knew the K-9 was getting close and he “decided to give up”. In another situation, K-9 and Patrolman Mackey were deployed to locate and apprehend a male suspect involved in a purse snatching. The suspect was last seen running to a construction site area. The suspect was located in approximately 7 minutes laying next to a newly constructed parking lot curb. The suspect complied with Patrolman Mackey's commands and was taken into custody without incident.

TOP HONOR for TRACKING for 2012 goes to K-9 BO of the Mentor Police Department, here today with his Partner, Patrolman Bill Mackey.


Our next Honoree is K-9 TITAN and his Partner, Patrolman Terry Wurgler, who were deployed to apprehend a suspect that had bailed out of a stolen vehicle. An officer pursued the suspect on foot until he lost sight of him. K-9 Titan tracked the suspect from stolen vehicle to a residence in the city. Titan led Patrolman Wurgler to a boat trailer that was covered by a tarp. Several commands were given for the suspect to surrender, but he did not comply. K-9 Titan was sent to apprehend the suspect and was successful after biting the suspect that had continued to resist arrest. In December, 2012, K-9 Titan and Officer Wurgler were deployed to apprehend a male suspect who fled from a local residence. Suspect was wanted for Felonious Assault and Domestic Violence for physically assaulting his child's mother and her friend. Upon arrival, Patrolman Wurgler found the scene contaminated by other officers and paramedics, but he eventually located footprints that allowed K-9 to pick up a track that covered several yards and involved scaling of four fences. K-9 Titan led his handler to a snow-covered picnic table. Suspect did not comply to several commands to surrender. K-9 Titan was sent to apprehend the Suspect. K-9 Titan bit and held onto Suspect's arm and pulled him out from underneath the picnic table, at which time he was taken into custody.

TOP HONOR for APPREHENSION for 2012 goes to K-9 TITAN of the Mentor Police Department along with his Partner, Patrolman Terry Wurgler.


For K-9 MINER and his Partner, Deputy Jim Dhayer, May 26th 2012 was their first full shift after graduating on May 22nd. They were dispatched to an address in Geauga County for a Domestic Violence complaint. The husband had threatened to kill his wife. When K-9 Miner and Deputy Dhayer arrived, a track was started from the home which led into the woods. After tracking for approximately 500 yards, the husband was located hiding behind a tree and was taken into custody. In June, 2012, K-9 Miner and Deputy Dhayer were requested to conduct an exterior scan of a vehicle that had been traffic stopped. K-9 gave a final response to the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed several baggies of Cocaine, Marijuana, unidentified pills, drug paraphernalia and a firearm located in the interior. The driver of the vehicle was placed under arrest for several counts of Felony Drug Possession.

TOP HONOR for DRUG DETECTION for 2012 goes to K-9 MINER of the Geauga County Sheriff's Office here today with his Partner, Deputy Jim Dhayer.


K-9 KAYLA has been a certified Police dual purpose K-9 since 2007. She was our “2007 Rookie of the Year”. K-9 Kayla has taken pounds of drugs off the streets and locked up many criminals. She had a traffic stop that yielded narcotics and $35,000 in a hidden compartment. She also located narcotics in several different areas of a home that yielded a large quantity of illegal drugs. Kayla has enjoyed a great career working for the citizens of Windham and Portage County, Ohio. She was forced to retire early this year due to health problems. Her Handler points out that besides her dug locating ability, she has a sweet disposition toward children. When visiting preschools and kindergartens there would be as many as 20 to 30 little hands on her and she would stand there and take it all in. Corporal Jamie Price stated that Kayla “will continue to live with our family, as she has since she was 6 weeks old, to the end of her days, with all the bones she can eat”.

TOP HONOR for NARCOTICS DETECTION for 2012 goes to K-9 KAYLA of the Windham Police Department, with her Handler Corporal Jamie Price.



Corporal Jamie Price would now like to introduce his new Partner, K-9 RECON, who came to him at 8 weeks of age. He was specialty certified at 7 months of age. Specialty is narcotic detection, tracking and article search. K-9 Recon, like K-9 Kayla, loves finding narcotics and already has several drug arrests under his belt. He is currently working on getting his patrol certification to be a dual purpose K-9. When at home, he enjoys playing tug-of-war with “sister” K-9 Kayla.

TOP HONOR ROOKIE for 2012 goes to K-9 RECON of the Windham Police Department with Corporal Jamie Price.



In January, 2012, a track was requested of K-9 MALEK and Deputy Jim Schierer when a subject on felony probation fled from his probation officer and the Defiance Police Department. During the track attempt, K-9 was able to locate the subject's direction of travel. The suspect had fled into a nearby wooded area and the track was verified by marks left on the side of the hill the suspect climbed while fleeing. The track eventually led into a residential area and based on Malek's indications it was believed the suspect left by means other than by foot. A short time later, the suspect was seen by his probation officer driving a vehicle which led to a short vehicle pursuit through a residential area. Deputy Scheirer was the lead vehicle in the pursuit. After a few blocks, the suspect was able to gain a short lead and then took off on foot. Suspect was almost into a wooded area when Deputy Scheirer closed in and gave repeated orders not to run or K-9 would be deployed. Suspect did not comply and K-9 Malek was deployed. At the time of deployment, the suspect entered a ravine and was not in the direct line of sight. K-9 Malek began an area search and within a short amount of time the suspect was observed running up the other side of the ravine. K-9 Malek was again given the order to engage the suspect. When the suspect and K-9 Malek cleared the top of the hill, Deputy Schierer did not have line of sight of the suspect or Malek. He did hear other officers giving orders to the suspect and he immediately commanded Malek to disengage for both the safety of the suspect and other officers. When Deputy Schierer reached the top of the hill, K-9 Malek was down as commanded despite the distraction of the suspect resisting the other officers less than 20 feet away. Deputy Schierer and Malek then approached to assist with taking the suspect into custody. After the suspect was taken into custody, Deputy Schierer observed the other distractions nearby including several people, including one walking a small dog. Had K-9 Malek not disengaged as commanded, it is very probable that several people, including other officers, could have been accidentally bitten.

TOP HONOR for CONTROLLED RESPONSE for 2012 goes to K-9 MALEK of the Defiance County Sheriff's Office with his Partner, Deputy James Scheirer.


Warrensville Heights Police Department received a 911 call that stated a man had been shot and the suspect had fled the scene. When officers arrived they located the victim who eventually died from a gunshot wound to his chest. Officers were unable to locate the suspect, so they called in K-9 CHARLIE and Corporal Mark Sarna of the Shaker Heights Police Department for mutual aid in an attempt to track and locate the suspect. When K-9 Charlie and his handler arrived on the scene, they were given limited information on the suspect's direction of travel and a canine track was initiated. K-9 tracked for about 300 yards before Charlie stopped and alerted to a row of bushes along the route of the track. Corporal Sarna read his K-9's alert and advised officers on scene to check the area of bushes that Charlie was indicating to. The officers found a loaded handgun and collected it as evidence. K-9 Charlie and Corporal Sarna continued their track for another ¼ mile until the track abruptly ended at the roadside. Warrensville Heights Police had no information on the suspect of this homicide. The only link they had was the handgun located by K-9 Charlie. The handgun was sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations in hopes of finding DNA; months later BCI notified WHPD that they were able to collect DNA and linked that DNA to a suspect. The suspect was eventually located and arrested. K-9 Charlie and Corporal Sarna were the main witnesses when the case went to court. Before the actual trial, the suspect admitted his guilt and plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter. During his confession, the suspect told investigators that he had fled the area on foot and called a friend to pick him up --- he confirmed that the K-9 had tracked him to the spot where he was picked-up by his friend in a car.

TOP HONOR for TRACKING/EVIDENCE DETECTION for 2012 goes to K-9 CHARLIE of the Shaker Heights Police Department with his Partner, Corporal Mark Sarna.


In December, K-9 RECON and Patrolman Miles Blansette, along with other members of the South Euclid Police Department, Lyndhurst Police Department and University Heights Police Department responded to a report of a suicidal male armed with several firearms, including a high-powered rifle, at a home in the suburb. Upon arrival, officers secured the perimeter and contact was made with the male. During the time officers were speaking with him, male fired the rifle inside the home. After some time, he exited the home with the rifle in his hand. He was ordered to put the rifle down and he complied, however he refused officers commands to surrender. As he continued to walk toward officers, it was not known if he was armed with an additional gun which he was reported to possess. Patrolman Blansette then deployed K-9 RECON to apprehend the suspect. Recon did so and ended the standoff. No officers were injured and the suspect was transported for a psychiatric evaluation.

TOP HONOR for APPREHENSION for 2012 goes to K-9 RECON of the South Euclid Police Department and his Partner Patrolman Miles Blansette.


Our next Honoree, K-9 ARKO and Officer Majer responded to assist in the search for a male suspect who had fled a traffic stop on foot. Upon arrival, K-9 Arko began tracking the suspect through backyards on several streets. After several minutes, another officer reported seeing footprints leading to a garage behind a residence. After making contact with the homeowner, officers determined that nobody should be in the garage. K-9 warning announcements were made into the building and no response was received. K-9 Arko was deployed on a building search of the garage and alerted to a set of cabinets on a garage wall near the ceiling. The suspect was found hiding in the cabinet in an attempt to evade officers. He was taken into custody without further incident. At the time of the track and building search, K-9 Arko has been working as a police dog for just seven months. This K-9 team spends countless off-duty hours training to improve their skills and protect their community.

TOP HONOR for TRACKING/BUILDING SEARCH goes to K-9 ARKO of the Bedford Heights Police Department, with his Partner, Officer Bob Majer.


In December, K-9 STRYKER and Patrolman Matt Troyer responded to a request for mutual aid from the Bedford Police Department to assist in the search for a felony domestic violence suspect who was believed to be hiding in a residence. The suspect was believed to be hiding upstairs in the home. Prior to the K-9 team's arrival, Bedford officers had deployed pepper spray into the home in an attempt to flush the suspect out. Despite the heavy odor of gas in the house, K-9 Stryker entered the home and began to alert at the top of a landing on the stairway to the second floor. Located there was a small hole in the wall which he began to alert on. Officers were able to use a tactical mirror and inserted it into the attic where Stryker had alerted and observed the suspect hiding between the ceiling and the rafters. After some time, the suspect was forced from the attic and taken into custody.

TOP HONOR for BUILDING SEARCH goes to K-9 STRYKER of the Solon Police Department along with his Partner, Patrolman Matt Troyer.


In July last year, Bainbridge Police Officer Jon Weiner, on patrol with his new partner, K-9 Ozzie, observed a suspect wanted by several law enforcement agencies, standing in a front yard. When Officer Weiner attempted to make contact with the suspect, he fled on foot. Officer Weiner attempted to place the suspect under arrest; however the suspect assaulted him by punching him in the face and continued fleeing. After determining the suspect was hiding in a house, officers made entry into the home and deployed K-9 Ozzie on a search of the house. Ozzie alerted on a bedroom door, at which time the suspect attempted to climb out a window. With the house surrounded by officers, the suspect climbed back into the house. Officers then breached the door to the bedroom and Ozzie was deployed inside. He immediately apprehended the suspect by biting his left leg. The suspect then assaulted Ozzie, ripping him off of his leg and trying to hold his mouth closed. Ozzie was able to free himself from the suspect's grip by biting his hand. He then reengaged the suspect on the left arm. Officer Weiner again attempted to take the suspect into custody and he was taken to the ground, at which time he landed on top of Ozzie. Ozzie was forced to release the suspect's arm, and bit him again on the left leg. With Ozzie's assistance, as well as several cycles of the Taser, officers were finally able to handcuff the suspect. He was charged with numerous offenses, including assault on a police officer, assault on a police dog and resisting arrest. He was found guilty of his crimes and sentenced to prison. At the time of this incident, Ozzie had been a police dog for less than 2 months.

TOP HONOR for HANDLER PROTECTION goes to K-9 OZZIE of the Bainbridge Police Department here today with his Partner, Officer Jon Weiner.


In January of 2012, the Cleveland MetroParks Ranger Department requested assistance with the arrest of a sex offender who had attempted to strike a ranger with his vehicle when fleeing after being observed exposing himself in Big Creek MetroPark. He was located by undercover rangers later in South Euclid, where he lived. When uniformed officrs attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspect fled again. He then attempted to return to his home. When he exited he vehicle, officers attempted to take him into custody. He resisted arrest and K-9 REX was deployed to apprehend him. He is currently serving two years in prison for a variety of offenses. This is just one example of Rex's exemplary career. After 10 years of dedicated service to the South Euclid Police Department and his Partner, Patrolman Mike Fink, K-9 Rex retired from service on July 31, 2012. At 11 years of age, Rex had exceeded the expected service life of a work dog and was adopted by Mike and his family. During Rex's 10 years on the job, he responded to hundreds of calls for service which resulted in many criminal suspects being removed from the streets of South Euclid. He won many awards and received many commendations, including Herod Dog of the Year in 2007 from Bil-Jac Foods and the GSDC of Northern Ohio. Rex had the honor of guarding two Presidents of the United States when detailed to assist the United States Secret Service. Rex enjoyed all the community services in which he was able to participate, including visiting an elementary school on a regular basis. That school actually held a retirement party for Rex which included presentation of a song written for him, gifts for him, and letters from each student on what he will be able to do with his time in retirement.

TOP HONOR for LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT for 2012 goes to K-9 REX retired from the South Euclid Police Department. Patrolman Mike Fink is accepting this recognition for Rex who is enjoying his retirement at home today.


K-9 SAMMY of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office was born on June 7, 2006 in the Czech Republic. In June, 2007, he was partnered with Deputy Mike Twombly as a patrol and narcotics detection K-9. K-9 Sammy and Deputy Twombly were assigned the narcotics interdiction specializing in parcels. Shipping illegal drugs through delivery services is a common method drub traffickers use and move their product to the streets and neighborhoods. During their time together, K-Sammy and Deputy Twombly were responsible for the interception of over 1,000 pounds of marijuana, as well as numerous kilograms of cocaine and heroin which were headed for the streets of Cuyahoga County. They were also responsible for the seizure of more than half a million dollars in illicit drug funds. Sadly, on February 14th Sammy passed away at age 6. He had cancer.

We present this award IN MEMORY of K-9 SAMMY for his DEVOTION TO DUTY. Accepting is Deputy Mike Twombly of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office.


In the fall of 2003, Officer Dale Merchant attended the K-9 Academy at Von der Haus Gill in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Officer Merchant started the class assigned to a K-9 named Storm. During the third week of class, K-9 Storm became ill and was replaced with K-9 Major who had just been imported from Germany. Officer Merchant and K-9 Major graduated the training only after 3 weeks. K-9 Major was only 11 months at the time of his graduation. Through their career, Officer Merchant and K-9 Major maintained their certification with the State of Ohio and with the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers in both patrol and narcotics. During K-9 Major's career, K-9 Major was utilized for 535 activities from demonstrations, preventive action, backing up officers, narcotics, building, area and article searches, and tracking. During these deployments, K-9 Major was credited with 83 apprehensions. K-9 Major continued his great tracking career through 2012 until his retirement. While attending Von Der Haus Gill Academy with his new K-9 Arlo, Officer Merchant received news that K-9 Major was will. Officer Merchant left class on the day before graduation and returned to be with K-9 Major. Testing revealed that K-9 Major had a large tumor that was bleeding internally. A decision was made and according to his Partner, Dale, “K-9 Major can walk into heaven holding his head high knowing he served me and the community we served well”.

We present this award IN MEMORY of K-9 MAJOR for his DEVOTION TO DUTY. Accepting is Officer Dale Merchant of the Garfield Heights Police Department (with his new Partner, K-9 ARLO).

In May, 2006, Bil-Jac Dog Foods and the German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio, Inc. announced the establishment of our HERO DOG HALL OF FAME. This will recognize a K-9 whose service has set him apart and been overall outstanding throughout his career. Our second inductee has been the recipient of the Gene Jasinski Hero Dog Award in both 2009 and 2011. As you have just heard, K-9 MAJOR had a stellor career. He retired from the Garfield Heights Police Department in 2012 after 9 full years at Dale Merchant's side.

We would like to present Officer Dale Merchant this plaque representing K-9 Major's induction into the Bil-Jac Dog Foods and GSDC of Northern Ohio Hero Dog Hall of Fame.


On Sunday, June 3, 2012, Lorain Police Officer Craig Payne and his Partner, K-9 KRISS, responded to assist another Lorain Police Officer who had attempted to stop a domestic violence suspect fleeing in a vehicle. The suspect refused to pull over and was operating the vehicle in reckless and dangerous manner. The suspect eventually crashed the vehicle into the front of an apartment building. Upon the arrival of the first Lorain Police Officer, the suspect opened fire with a handgun, striking the officer's police car. The suspect then broke into an apartment, causing the resident to flee the unit. After a short time, the suspect re-emerged with a silver handgun in his left hand and was holding the gun to his head. The suspect repeatedly stated he wanted to die. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Payne, with K-9 Kriss deployed along side of him, began advancing toward the suspect and verbally directing numerous by-standers to leave the area and return to their homes. Officer Payne observed the suspect to be holding a handgun to his head and moving it to his chin and mouth, all the while stating he was going to kill himself. Officer Payne, in an attempt to defuse the situation, engaged in a dialogue with the suspect, who repeatedly stated he would shoot and kill K-9 Kriss if the dog were sent to apprehend him. After approximately 15 minutes of conversation with Officer Payne and other Lorain Police officers, the suspect stated “I am going to kill a cop tonight”. He then pointed the gun at the officers and opened fire. Officer Payne, and several officers, returned fire, striking the suspect several times. The suspect went to the ground but continued to move around. He was repeatedly ordered to show his hands, but would not comply. As the suspect continued to move around on the ground, officers feared the suspect was attempting to lure them to him in an attempt to shoot them. Officer Payne then deployed K-9 Kriss on an apprehension in order to take the suspect's focus off of the advancing officers so they could obtain a better position from which to secure him and the weapon he had used against them.

K-9 Kriss did not hesitate and engaged the suspect by biting and holding his left leg. While K-9 Kriss was holding the suspect, the officers were able to move in and secure the suspect in handcuffs and recover his weapon. He was then transported to the hospital.

THE GENE JASINSKI HERO DOG AWARD for OUTSTANDING VALOR AND K-9 SERVICE in 2012 goes to K-9 KRISS from the Lorain Police Department and his Partner, Officer Craig Payne.




We want to thank all the Handlers, K-9's and K-9 Unit Commanders who came out to support these wonderful dogs and their Partners:



 photos by woodland designs


Hero Dog Awards 2011
Hero Dog Awards 2005
Hero Dog Awards 2004

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