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A very rainy day.........

Bil-Jac Foods and The German Shepherd Dog Club of Northern Ohio have come together again this year to Honor the German Shepherd in K-9 Police work in Northern Ohio. The Honor is based on their contributions during the calendar year 2007.


This year, our First Honoree and his Partner have been involved in situations from narcotic sniffs, building searches, tracks and officer assists to preventive actions and mutual aid usage. But we found him to be outstanding in his community contacts and K-9 Demonstrations.

Our TOP HONOR FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE for 2007 goes to K-9 SABER of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. He is here today with his Partner, Deputy Allan Moon.

Our next Honoree started his K-9 training at the age of 8 weeks and was certified in Narcotics, Area, and Tracking before reaching the age of 8 months. He has a 100% alert history directed toward narcotic alerts. This K-9 has been used in service so far only linked to narcotic detection and is currently 100%, 5 of 5. He has accelerated above his training class and is the youngest dog to certify in the short time frame he has been in service.

of the Middlefield Police Department, here today with his Partner, Officer Nick Divita.

Our next Honoree came upon K-9 work by chance. Her partner actually got her as a pet in 2006 when she was 6 weeks old. As an Undercover Narcotics Detective in the Portage County Drug Task Force, he would take her to work and she would just lie at his feet as he did his reports. She would go with him on surveillance on suspected drug areas and she became an unofficial mascot of the drug unit. The officer was called back to road duty in January, 2007, and in March, 2007 he was offered a position as K-9 handler for his department. After looking into her background in police and service dogs, the officer’s dog started training and became certified for special purpose --- tracking, narcotic detection and evidence recovery. Presently she is working on her patrol certification. So far, this K-9 has made several drug arrests, including marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine.

Our TOP HONOR ROOKIE FOR DRUG DETECTION for 2007 is K-9 KAYLA of the Windham Police Department along with her Partner, Patrolman Jamie Price.


On April 7th, 2007, the Painesville Police Department responded to a report of
a hit-skip traffic accident. After a short time, the suspect vehicle was located unoccupied. Officer and K-9 were called to the area to begin a tract of the suspect(s). While on the way to the area, the Officer located two suspects, a male and a female, and stopped them. Both suspects had to be repeatedly told to remove their hands from their pockets for officer safety. Shortly, the male complied and was handcuffed. The female would not take her hands out of her pockets, at which time K-9 was deployed from the patrol vehicle via of the remote door opener, called to a heal and placed in a watch position. As the K-9 cam to a heel, the female suspect removed her hands from her pockets and a .25 caliber handgun fell to the ground. The suspect stated “Keep that dog away from me.” Other officers arrived and the female was taken into custody without incident. There is no way to know what the female suspect’s intentions were; had the K-9 not been present and not reacted as trained, it is certainly possible that a tragedy could have occurred that night.

Our TOP HONOR FOR BRAVERY for 2007 is K-9 FREDDY of the Painesville Police Department, here today with Officer Brenda Dibble.



This next Honoree has been a significant and indispensable asset to the narcotics interdiction unit of his department. His 2007 statistics include 15 tracks, with 10 being successful; removed 10 loaded handguns from the street; performed 15 public demonstrations; and provided over 100 assists to agencies without a K-9 unit. But this K-9 was outstanding in narcotics detection: conducted 184 narcotics sniffs and located over 5 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of marijuana and 300 unit does of ecstasy. He also located over $100,000.00 dollars in tainted drug proceeds which was seized. Five vehicles were also seized from these K-9 alerts.

Out TOP HONOR FOR NARCOTICS for 2007 is K-9 CASEY of the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, here today with his Partner, Deputy Dan Kohler.



Our next K-9 has just completed her fourth full year on the road. In 2007 she was utilized 248 times in various incidents with her own department, as well as assisting other local departments and agencies. She has assisted in 37 misdemeanor and felony arrests. One highlight in 2007 happened on Oct. 7th. K-9 and Officer conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for a minor traffic infraction. Officers found the driver of the vehicle very nervous and had a history for possession of narcotics. K-9 alerted to odor of narcotics coming from the vehicle. Officers found the male had 264 grams of marijuana packaged for sale inside of the vehicle as well as a digital scale , and other items used for packaging of narcotics. Male was arrested for felony possession of marijuana and possession of criminal tools. In 2007, K-9 helped locate over 322 grams of marijuana as well as drug paraphernalia and other drug related items from drug searches. She compiled 62 actual drug searches of vehicles, local schools, and residences.

Our TOP HONOR FOR DRUG DETECTION for 2007 is K-9 ZEUS of the Village of Fairport Harbor Police Department along with her partner, Officer Ronald L. Campbell II.



This next K-9 was certified for narcotics detection and all phases of utility (obedience, building search, area search, article search, tracking and aggression control) in June, 2007. Once they were certified for duty, K-9 and officer wasted no time getting to work. In July, after a short vehicle pursuit, an impaired driver bailed from his car on foot after running off the road and crashing into a tree. Officer gave a K-9 warning announcement, which Suspect ignored. K-9 was sent to apprehend the suspect who then looked back and saw K-9 closing the gap. The suspect immediately dove on the ground and proned himself out while calling his intention to surrender. Officer gave “out” command, and K-9 immediately complied without making contact with the suspect. Rather, K-9 stood nearby barking at the suspect who offered no further resistance. This was just the first example of what this K-9 and his Partner have done in the short time he has been on the road. In another situation, the Ohio Highway Patrol called upon this team to perform a vehicle sniff on a car stopped on I-90. K-9’s positive alert on the car resulted in the discovery of 5 pounds of cocaine --- the largest seizure by Mentor Police to date with a street value of almost $50,000.00!
Our TOP HONOR ROOKIE FOR PURSUIT FOR 2007 is K-9 NIKO from the Mentor Police Department, here today with his Partner, Officer Joe Primiano.



This year we are pleased to recognize two K-9 officers in the area of Pursuit.
Our first K-9 team, along with other department officers, responded to investigate the robbery of a pizza delivery man. Upon arrival, officers detain several possible suspects. After a short time, one of these suspects begins to violently resist officers as they attempt to take him into custody. Officer then commanded K-9 to apprehend the suspect. K-9 apprehended suspect, ending the suspect’s resistance. In another incident, officers, are speaking with a juvenile, his mother and step-father regarding an incident the child was involved in when the juvenile’s father suddenly and violently begins to assault the child. As officers attempt to restrain him, he begins to resist them. K-9 apprehends the suspect by biting him in the shoulder. The suspect immediately begins to comply and is taken into custody for domestic violence.

Our TOP HONOR FOR PURSUIT FOR 2007 is K-9 RECON of the South Euclid Police Department, along with his Partner, Officer Miles Blansette.



Our next Honoree started working the road in April, 2007. A week after being on the road, Officer and K-9 responded to a burglary in progress. Upon arrival at the residence, several subjects were observed running from the rear of the home. K-9 was prepared for the track while other units set up a perimeter around the area. K-9 and officer tracked suspects for about an hour. Due to K-9’s efforts the perimeter was able to be tightened up, but K-9 was exhausted. Several other officers were brought in, and a fresh K-9 team was deployed in the area that our Honoree had stopped. The four suspect’s were actually found by the fresh team, hiding in a trash dumpster about 80 feet from where our Honoree had stopped. In another incident,
K-9 was called in when a male suspect being detained with several other people suspected of theft fled from the Officer questioning them. A track was set up and K-9 pulled directly to the west through some back yards. After a lengthy track, the suspect was found by K-9 hiding under a large bush.

2007 TOP HONOR FOR PURSUIT goes to K-9 FELO of the Kent Police
Department with his Partner, Officer Martin Gilliland.



On March 23, 2007, Officer and K-9 were on patrol and observed a large group (50-60) of people yelling and screaming at each other. Officer then observed about 5 people from the group start fighting, with one subject laying on the ground getting kicked and punched. Officer arrived in the area and exited the patrol car yelling for subject to stop fighting. Unknown to Officer, K-9 exited vehicle as well. Officer ran toward the group of people still fighting and continued to order them to stop, all but 2 subjects stopped fighting. Officer pepper sprayed in the direction of the subjects still fighting, getting spray on just one of the subjects. The subject that was sprayed fell to the ground. The other subject then punched and kicked the subject. Officer ordered the subject to stop, but upon seeing officer, fled. Officer gave a short foot pursuit and the subject turned and attempted to assault Officer. K-9 reacted, based on her training, to the aggressive behavior of the subject and bit the subject’s right arm taking him to the ground. K-9’s act prevented Officer from being injured by the impending fight that would have occurred. K-9 also showed her abilities in other areas like article searches and narcotic sniffs. In one of the many narcotic sniffs of vehicles, a search of the vehicle resulted in drugs and a loaded firearm being recovered.

2007 TOP HONOR FOR PROTECTION goes to K-9 JESSY of the Kent Police Department, here with Partner, Officer Jim Ennemoser.


Our next K-9 has been on the road since 1999. 2007 saw him accomplish the following: 1) An area search after a lengthy track done by Officer Gilliland and K-9 Felo which resulted in four felony burglary suspects being arrested. These suspects were responsible for multiple burglaries in Kent and areas in the county.
2) a physical apprehension of a felony drug suspect which resulted in over ½ ounce of powder cocaine and $6,000 in cash being recovered. 3) A theft suspect fled from the scene of his arrest with handcuffs still on. K-9 and Officer were called out on mutual aid to assist PCSO with the search. After a lengthy track the suspect was found by K-9 hiding under a deck behind a residence. K-9 Codi, after nine years of service, retired in January, 2008. He has been honored by Bil-Jac and the GSDC No. several times.

2007 TOP HONOR VETERAN is K-9 CODI of the Kent Police Department along with his Partner, Officer Norm Jacobs.



Our next K-9 is not only a member of the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office, but also a member of the Willoughby Hills Fire Department. This K-9 is very specialized as he is a Cadaver Dog. During 2007, K-9 and Deputy responded to 10 calls for mutual aid from the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office, Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland FBI, among others. Due to the sensitive nature of the calls, all of which are still ongoing investigations, the reports are not a matter of public record and cannot at this time be discussed. The Human Remains Cadaver Dog services are considered mutual aid to all government agencies and therefore are free of charge. This K-9 team is available 24/7. Deputy Lesko has said “The Cadaver Dog is used to assist in the solving of the crime and to give closure to the family of the victim. It is a very specialized field.
2007 SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR CADAVER SEARCH goes to K-9 ELIOT NESS along with his Partner, Deputy Sandy Lesko.

Eliot is one of our own -- Edith Leonard is his breeder.



This year we are again honoring two K-9’s in the area of Tracking.
In January 2007, K-9 and Partner responded to a search after an Officer stopped a vehicle and the driver exited it and fled on foot. K-9 began search of area and eventually worked the property over to a large cliff. K-9 showed a strong interest over the cliff. Officer attempted to look over the cliff to see what K-9 was interested in and was unable to see anything. K-9 continued to show a strong interest in the area and now traveled over the edge. K-9 began to work his way toward some thick brush located on the side of the cliff. Officer began to look into the brush and observed the male concealed up under the cliff and in the brush. Male was taken into custody without incident. Another incident was for a track of a male fleeing from a theft. K-9 started a track which took him through several backyards; K-9 lost the track and started circling a garage; K-9 started an air scent, working back westbound -- K-9 located the male sitting behind a garage and he was attempting to conceal himself between two pieces of plywood. Male was taken into custody without incident.

2007 TOP HONOR FOR TRACKING goes to K-9 MAJOR of the Garfield Heights Police Department. Joining him is his Partner, Officer Dale Merchant.



Our next Honoree just completed his second year on the road. In February, 2007 Officer and K-9 were called out to assist patrol officers on scene in their attempt to locate two armed robbery suspects who fled from pizza parlor on foot. Officers on scene did an excellent job in preserving the scene and K-9 was able to establish a track that lead directly to where another officer had detained two subjects matching the description that were found approximately ½ mile away. In addition to directly tying these two subjects to the crime scene, K-9’s track also revealed the location of clothing and the guns used in the robbery. Both suspects were subsequently convicted in this case. In August, K-9 was instrumental in ending a foot chase that involved a suspect wanted on felony warrants as well as for assault. This suspect was running from officers until Officer and K-9 pulled up to appoint approximately 40 yards from where the suspect was running. The combination of Officer’s K-9 warning and K-9’s barking from within the car were enough to convince the suspect to stop and he was taken into custody without further incident.

2007 TOP HONOR FOR TRACKING goes to K-9 DEUCE of the Mentor Police Department, here with his Partner, Officer Ron Gunton.


In December, Officer Gunton was presented with a certificate and a flag that was flown on a combat mission over Iraq in his honor. This was done by the 1st Cavalry, 6th United States Cavalry Regiment at the request of a local K-9 supporter to recognize Officer Gunton’s efforts in training police K-9 teams.

On a somber note, October, 2007 brought with it the passing of retired Mentor K-9 Thunder. Those of you who have been with us in the past knew Thunder well, as he was our Hero Dog twice and the first honoree in the Hero Dog Hall of Fame. He served the Mentor K-9 Unit from 1997 until his retirement in 2006 and enjoyed an outstanding career.


While responding to a report of a robbery in progress, Patrolman and K-9 observed a suspect fleeing the scene on foot. A foot pursuit was initiated and the suspect was located in a backyard. The suspect initially surrendered, and then as Patrolman and K-9 began to go over a fence in the yard, the suspect suddenly turns to confront the officer and K-9. At that time, K-9 was commanded to jump the fence and apprehend the suspect. K-9 immediately went over the fence and apprehended the suspect by biting his arm.

On May 25, 2007, Patrolman and K-9, along with other officers from the South Euclid Police Department responded to a request for mutual aid from the Cleveland Heights Police Department to assist at the scene of a shooting. Upon arrival it was learned that Cleveland Heights Police Officer, Investigator Jason West, had responded to a report of a large fight. Upon arrival, he was suddenly and violently attacked by a suspect who opened fire on him as he exited his patrol car. Officer West was critically wounded in the shooting. Suspect fled the area on foot.

K-9 was then deployed on a track of the suspect. He immediately began tracking the suspect through several backyards. While tracking the suspect, a call same in that a male matching his description had just broken into a home down the street from where the officers were tracking. Cleveland Heights Police Officers took the suspect into custody at that house.

Once the suspect was in custody the focus of the investigation turned to recovering the weapon used to shoot Officer West. K-9 was deployed on an article search beginning at the scene of the shooting. Prior to K-9 arrival, an initial search by other officers did not locate the weapon. After a short time, K-9 gave a positive alert on a wooden picket fence which had been knocked down in the backyard where the shooting had taken place. Upon lifting the fence, the weapon was found lying in the vegetation. Sadly, Officer West later died of his wounds.
In light of the significance of the recovery of Officer West’s murder weapon, we are most proud to present:

THE GENE JASINSKI HERO DOG AWARD for OUTSTANDING K-9 SERVICE for 2007 to K-9 REX from the South Euclid Police Department and his Partner, Patrolman Michael Fink.

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Hero Dog Awards 2005
Hero Dog Awards 2004

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