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Marcie Shanker, Announcer

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 2006.


Our first Honoree and his Partner were contacted by the Broadview Heights Police Department to assist them with a bank robbery that had occurred in their city in which the Charter One Bank had been robbed at gun point and the bank robber had fled the scene. 
K-9 started his track from the last known point from which the bank robber fled.  K-9 instantly started a track in a northwesterly direction and eventually stopped abruptly in front of a flowerbed indicating to Handler that something was there.  Ranger checked area and found robber’s loaded Colt 45 that had been used in the bank robbery.  K-9 continued track along back yards of Stoney Run Trail through tall weeds and headed for Route 82.  K-9 lifted his head and began air scent which indicated that Suspect was close.  K-9 began to pull hard on his leash to a large area of hedges in which time Ranger noticed a male matching description of bank robber hiding, along with the money that was taken in the bank robbery.

TOP HONOR for TRACKING goes to K-9 ROCKY with his Handler, Ranger Bob Pofok, of the Cleveland Metroparks Rangers.


Our next Honoree was used in more than 26 tracks during 2006.  One incident was an alarm drop at a business which turned out to be a breaking and entering.  While checking the business exterior, muddy footprints were observed and the K-9 started his track.  The track continued through numerous streets and areas.  Officers saw subject walking along freeway, then fleeing into the woods, and into a residential area.  K-9 picked up the track going through backyards until he started showing strong interest in a thicket.  The male was found hiding in the ticket and was taken into custody without further incident.

TOP HONOR for TRACKING goes to K-9 MAJOR with his Handler, Officer Dale Merchant of the Garfield Heights Police Department.


A traffic stop was conducted on a vehicle for excessive speed.  While talking to operator, the officer felt he was concealing something.  Operator was asked to exit vehicle, then asked if a trained narcotics detector K-9 would indicate drugs on his vehicle.  Operator began to get agitated and nervous, however gave permission to have the K-9 search the car.  A heavy odor of raw marijuana within the car was noticed by Officer on checking the interior.  When Officer ordered Operator to place hands on car, Operator of vehicle pushed away from Officer and took off running towards and bridge and the river.  Several warnings were offered before K-9 was deployed with the automatic door opener and K-9 chased the suspect who jumped over the bridge and headed down riverbank.  K-9, without hesitation, jumped the bridge (which was only 5 feet high) and pursued the suspect who then jumped into the river.  K-9 jumped into the river, pulling Suspect to shore where he was ordered to ground and placed into handcuffs.  K-9 sustained no injuries.  A further check of vehicle found large amounts of marijuana, digital scales, packaging supplies for marijuana and a large amount of U.S. currency.  Subject was wanted by immigration and later deported back to Germany.

TOP HONOR for PURSUIT goes to K-9 RADAR here with his Handler, Sergeant Sean Flanigan of the Cleveland Metroparks Rangers.


Officer and K-9 responded to an apartment party where two subjects were refusing the leave.  While enroute to the call, officer was advised that one of the subjects had brandished a gun at the resident and threatened to kill him.  The victim only knew the subject by his street name which was familiar to the officer.  When the team arrived, two subjects who matched the description were observed in the area.  They were ordered to stop.  One of the two layed on the ground; the other took off running.  He was warned that if he did not stop, the dog would be released.  Subject ignored the warning.  K-9 was released from the cruiser to apprehend Subject.  Subject continued to run; K-9 closed gap.  When K-9 was approximately 10 yards away, Subject threw up his hands.  K-9 was given “Out” and “Down” commands and obeyed with engaging Subject.  She stayed in position until Officer handcuffed Subject who was found to have multiple warrants for his arrest.  The gun was never located.

TOP HONOR for PURSUIT goes to K-9 JESSY with her Handler, Officer James Ennemoser of the Kent Police Department.


In May 2006, this our next K-9 completed training and immediately began making an impact in the community.  In June, an officer on patrol stopped a car for several traffic violations.  He received several indications that the driver was trafficking in narcotics.  This K-9 and handler were called in to scan vehicle and a positive alert was made on the truck of the auto.  A subsequent search of the auto resulted in the recovery of numerous packages of marijuana, US currency, a small scale and other drug paraphernalia.  The next month, the department responded to a large fight involving juveniles armed with broken bottles and knives.  Most suspects took off running when officers arrived.  One suspect who had been caught, broke away.  K-9 and Handler were requested and a track was started through numerous backyards.  Eventually the male was located hiding behind a garage.  He was taken into custody without injury to the Suspect or Officers involve.  Another incident found K-9 and Handler assisting officers in a burglary investigation.
K-9 located suspect and started to flee, but immediately surrendered when he was informed that Handler would send the dog if he did not stop.

TOP HONOR for ROOKIE is K-9 RECON here today with his Partner, Patrolman Miles Blansette of the South Euclid Police Department.


In June, 2006 this K-9 started working, filling some very big paws of his predecessor.  He has started out somewhat slowly as his Handler had suffered some injuries and not able to work as often.  But, he made an imprint in light of the community service he has been able to participate in --- Working Dog Weekend doing demonstrations and being featured on Fox 8 news with “Kickin’ with Kenny”; Law Days; the NAPWDA National Workshop; and Mutt Strut.  He made his first narcotics arrest when he alerted to nearly an ounce of marijuana in a car on a traffic stop.  Good way to start!

TOP HONOR for ROOKIE is K-9 DEUCE with Officer Ron Gunton of the Mentor Police Department.


In August, 2006, South Euclid Police Department units responded to a report of two males leaving without paying their bill at a local restaurant.  The males were located and one of them immediately began fighting with the first two officers.  The K-9 and his handler arrived on the scene as the second male began to approach he officers involved in the struggle.  The suspect, who had a history of violently resisting police, was ordered to lie on the ground.  He initially complied with the commands, but as officers approached to handcuff him, he turned as though he was going to assault the officers.  When it became clear that assault was imminent, K-9 was released and apprehended the suspect, who then complied with officers orders and was taken into custody without further incident.  Another situation concerned a traffic violation stop where a strong odor of fresh marijuana was indicated on the driver.  Driver gave Handler his i.d., Handler went to his vehicle to request backup; Driver bailed out of car and started running through yards.
K-9 started track through several yards, locating suspect covered by garbage can lids under a porch/crawl space in rear of house.  Suspect refused several orders to come out; K-9 was deployed; he located and engaged suspect on arm.  He began to remove the Suspect from under the porch, at which time male surrendered.  K-9 released suspect on command and he was taken into custody of obstructing, drug possession and other offenses.

TOP HONOR for PROTECTION goes to K-9 REX with his Handler, Patrolman Michael Fink of the South Euclid Police Department.


Our next K-9 has just completed her third full year of service.  She has been used, not only by her own department, but by numerous other local agencies such as Mentor-on the Lake P.D., Painesville P.D., and the Ohio State Patrol.  She has helped the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on a track where a male, who was under the influence of alcohol, fled from a traffic stop into a wooded/swamp area behind a local business.  This K-9 entered the swamp and was able to locate the male in the swamp area.  Officers were able to take him into custody without further incident.  This K-9 conducted numerous narcotic searches of vehicles, where the occupants were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and/or possession of marijuana, possession of crack cocaine.  Of K-9’s 44 arrests, 25 were drug related and this includes felony and misdemeanor charges.  But this K-9 shines in her community service.  With all the work she accomplished, she was still able to attend 38 community policing events and 4 public K-9 demonstrations.  She spent time with the elementary school children at the Breakfast Bunch and with the faculty and students at McKinley Elementary and Fairport Harbor High School.

TOP HONOR for COMMUNITY SERVICE goes to K-9 ZEUS here with her Handler, Officer Ronald L. Campbell II, of the Fairport Harbor Police Department.

June 22nd marked the date this K-9 started working the road.  He was certified as a police utility dog which incorporates building searches, article/evidence searches, tracking, area searches and narcotics detection.  His role with his department is to provide support to the various divisions of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and when requested, aid and support other law enforcement agencies throughout Lake County.  Additionally, he aids in searching the Sheriff’s Office Correctional facilities for contraband.  He has 34 assists to other officers; 115 contacts with the Public; 5 apprehended suspects; located 1 missing person.  This K-9 seems to shine in narcotics detection.  He had 38 narcotic sniffs, with seizure of 98.3 grams of marijuana, .3 grams of cocaine, .3 grams of heroin, and $680.00 in currency seized.  In his short time on the road, he has done well!

TOP HONOR for NARCOTICS is K-9 SABER with Handler, Deputy Alan Moon, of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.


Our next Honoree was placed in service on June 3, 2000 and retired Sept. 1 2006.  Although these are only a few of the successful deployments in which he was involved, they are examples of the fine job he did:  In May, 2003, K-9 gave a positive alert on the exterior of an auto which led officers to search car; two ounces of crack cocaine and $5,000 cash was recovered.  In July, 2004, K-9 tracked an auto theft suspect over one mile until Suspect hid under a parked car; K-9 located him and when male refused to surrender, K-9 apprehended Suspect.  In Nov. 2004, K-9 tracked a mentally disturbed man who had broken out all the windows in his home.  The track was over ¾ mile long, but K-9 located him in a park.  And in 2006, K-9 assisted officers pursuing a male who had just carjacked a victim.  The stolen car was crashed and a short foot pursuit followed.  The male was located and violently struggled with officers until K-9 arrived and apprehended male by biting his leg.  He was taken into custody and charged with robbery, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.

TOP HONOR for a VETERAN is K-9 CAESAR with his handler, Corporal Mark Sarna of the Shaker Heights Police Department.


This K-9 officer was the first police K-9 in the history of Brunswick Hills working as a patrol/narcotic detection dog.  During his career, he performed thousands of drug searches and assisted with hundreds of arrests.  He was so reliable that he earned the nickname “Mr. Automatic” because if he indicated, the officers’ knew drugs were there.  This K-9 had an excellent success rate for tracking too.  He once tracked two suspects that fled on foot after stealing items from a convenient store.  He tracked right to both suspects – one hiding in a wooded area and the other walking down the sidewalk.  On another track, he located a suspect that fled on foot from a stolen vehicle.  K-9 found the suspect hiding in a shed, in an area that was ‘cleared’ by officers’ prior to dog’s arrival.  During a check of the rest area on I-71, K-9 found a large amount of marijuana that was headed for a college campus in southern Ohio.  A loaded pistol was recovered from the same vehicle.  In addition to narcotics, K-9’s work also netted the confiscation of pistols and other weapons before they could be used to harm anyone.  This is just a small sampling of Hawke’s accomplishments throughout his career.  Hawke retired in February, 2006, but not before adding to his resume by becoming a certified therapy dog.
Hawke repeatedly showed the community what a police dog could … and should be.  He showed in public demonstrations throughout is career how friendly and social a well-trained police dog can be with children and adults.  He would go from having little kids crawl on him, to chasing down the bad guy, and within moments having kids all around him again.  His handler stated “Hawke was a very special German Shepherd indeed.  I miss working with him, but he can now enjoy life just “being a dog”.  I now know how lucky I have been to be his handler/partner.”

TOP HONOR for a VETERAN is K-9 HAWKE, retired from the Brunswick Hills Police Department, along with his best friend, Officer Heather Stask.



Almost all of our Hero Dogs are trained as patrol/narcotics dogs, some specializing in tracking and some in substance detection.  Our next Honoree is being recognized for versatility in his work.  During 2006, the team responded to 63 calls for service, 37 of which were in the narcotics area resulting in the seizure of 628 grams of marijuana, 1 gram of cocaine, a gram of heroin and 14 pieces of drug paraphernalia.  The unit responded to 11 mutual aid requests from other jurisdictions, conducted 9 tracks, 12 building searches, 3 area searches, and 2 large crowd control situations.  As a result, the unit apprehended 6 suspects and seized one vehicle.  In one incident, Unit responded to mutual aid request by Chief of a neighboring township.  Chief attempted to stop two subjects from siphoning gas from vehicles, and while on Chief was on foot, Suspects attempted to run him down with their vehicle.  The vehicle was located in a nearby apartment complex and the occupants were observed fleeing into a wooded area.  A resident stated he heard subjects talking in the woods.  Three warnings were given for suspects to come out of woods or K-9 would be sent in after them.  No response; K-9 was released to search the area.  Subject was observed running out of the woods, followed by K-9.  Subject ran directly to K-9’s Handler; he was ordered down to the ground.  He went down at same time K-9 arrived.  K-9 went down on command, barking, and continued to keep Subject in place until he was placed in handcuffs.  This Subject was passenger in car and his interview led police to the identity of the driver.  Another mutual aid situation led to a vehicle sniff by K-9 who alerted aggressively on passenger’s side of vehicle.  Search revealed 117 grams of marijuana under driver’s seat.  This K-9 had numerous other areas of involvement that included apprehension, pursuit, substance detection, and tracking.  In light of all this, we are presenting

TOP HONOR for VERSATILITY to K-9 CODI, here today with Handler, Officer Norman Jacobs of the Kent Police Department.



At this time, we presenting a SPECIAL RECOGNITION to K-9 BAK of the Kent Police Department.  Bak started working with his Handler in November, 2004 and was maturing nicely and proving to be an asset to the Kent Police Department.  This K-9 completed 15 narcotics searches netting 18 grams of marijuana, 1 gram of cocaine, 4 pieces of drug paraphernalia and $1,l45 in cash.  This K-9 and Handler were on patrol when a pursuit entered the city.  The officer positioned himself on an adjacent street after the suspect turned down a dead end street.  Suspect ran in front of cruiser.  Handler and Bak pursued him on foot.  K-9 latched on suspect’s jacket sleeve and slowed him down enough for Handler to assist in apprehension.  Suspect was arrested and turned over to the pursuing jurisdiction.  Handler and Bak worked nicely as a team on this arrest.  Sadly, this would be the last street usage the team would have together.  Bak succumbed to a sudden illness in 2006.  He may have been infected by a virus early in his life.  His body was able to fight off the infection for some time, but the infection suddenly spread and he was no longer able to fight it off.
Here to accept this SPECIAL RECOGNITION for K-9 BAK is his Handler, Officer Marty Gilliland and his new Partner, K-9 Felo.



We now have two LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS to give out.  2006 proved to be a very difficult year for our Hero Dogs.  Besides the loss of Bak, two other of our Hero Dogs were lost.

K-9 BRONCO of the Mentor Police Department had been recognized by Bil-Jac Foods and the GSDC of No. Ohio in 2000 as Rookie of the Year, 2001 Top Honor for Narcotics Detection, 2003 Honorable Mention and by the North American Police Work Dog Association in 2006 for Outstanding Service.  In 2000, Bronco was responsible for apprehending a suspect who fled from a stolen car after committing a robbery at a Mall.  As Bronco was about to engage the suspect, the suspect surrendered and Bronco was recalled by his handler.  In 2001 Bronco alerted to $30,000 in currency during an operation with the Caribbean Task Force.  This money was subsequently seized as asset forfeiture.  In 2004, Bronco assisted in locating and arresting three suspects involved in an armed robbery at a Friday’s Restaurant.  The list goes on.  Bronco worked numerous operations with the Mentor SWAT Unit and was assigned to the Presidential Security Detail when President Bush visited Mentor in 2005.  He could also frequently be found patrolling Mentor’s malls, parks and other public places and was always met with a warm reception --- particularly with small children.  His friendly demeanor most certainly endeared him to all who ever met him.  Bronco’s disposition and level of effectiveness served as a vivid testimony of the commitment and dedication put forth by Officer Rich Gerber throughout their time together.  Bronco served the Mentor Police Department for over 6 years.  He was embraced by all members of the Department as well as those in his community.  He will most certainly be missed.

Here accepting K-9 BRONCO’S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is Officer Ron Gunton of the Mentor Police Department.


K-9 MARCO  sadly passed away a short time after retiring from the Eastlake Police Department.  He had been honored by Bil-Jac Foods and the GSDC of No. Ohio with a 2003 Top Honor for Community Service and Education and as Top Honor for Veteran in both 2004 and 2005.  He was trained in narcotics detection and tracking.  Over the years he had worked with the FBI, DEA, Caribbean Task Force, US Coast Guard, as well as numerous local police agencies.  His most notable track was in 2004, looking for a suicidal male missing from Eastlake.  The male’s car had been found in the park system; initially a search conducted turned up nothing.  Once Marco was called in, Subject was found within 30 minutes; unfortunately too late for the missing person.  Marco managed to make arrests even when not on duty – just by reputation.  Many officers had learned to call for him on the radio in the presence of people suspected of having drugs in the vehicle.  On hearing the K-9 being called, they immediately surrender the drugs.  Meanwhile, Marco was sound asleep on his couch at home.   This K-9’s accomplishments are second to none when it came to public relations.  He was known by almost all the school-age children in his city as he attended many school functions and DARE programs.  The highlight of his summers were the swims he took with the kids at the city pool.  Marco began working the road on May 18, 1997 and retired in May, 2006.  He is surely missed.

Here to accept K-9 MARCO’S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD is his Partner and Best Friend, Rich Greer.



On January 30, 2006, a 911 call was dispatched that a male suspect was threatening to burn down his girlfriend’s house with her and her children in it.  Additional information was dispatched that the suspect had a knife and was ‘out of control’.  When the K-9 and Deputy arrived at the residence the first time, the suspect fled on foot into a heavy freezing rain.  A next door neighbor noticed that the door to her Jeep SUV was open, so K-9, his Handler and another Deputy ran a patrol Route in an attempt to locate the suspect, but the freezing rain increased to almost torrential and the sweep was halted with both Handler and other Deputy soaked to the bone (K-9, of course, wanted to continue.  The Deputies and K-9 stayed mobile in the area to await the return of the Suspect while another Sheriff’s Unit returned to base office to type a warrant for the Suspect.  The wait was not long, as the second 911 call came in shortly thereafter stating the suspect had returned, was breaking furniture and was involved in a verbal altercation with the victim, his girlfriend.  Deputies and K-9 arrived within one minute.  The Deputies and K-9 approached the porch and peered through a window in the front door.  The victim was not seen, but the Suspect was observed peering around a partial wall, then backed out of sight.

When the Deputies and K-9 entered the house, they moved through a living room into a combination dining room/kitchen where they encountered the suspect in a corner at the end of a 6’ table.  K-9 and Handler took a guard position about 8’ from the Suspect as other Deputy ordered the Suspect to go to his knees, cross his ankles and lock fingers behind his head.  To the orders the Suspect complied, but kept staring at K-9 and calling him a piece of (expletive)!  As the one Deputy got one handcuff on the Suspect, the Suspect became agitated and rose up, pushing Deputy away like a fly and shouted “I am going to KILL that dog!”  The Suspect then lunged at Handler and K-9.  K-9 countered the Suspect’s attack with an automatic response without a command by launching for a bite.  The crazed, agitated Suspect grabbed K-9 on each side of his neck, mid flight, and used his momentum to slam him into the wooden table.  K-9 launched again at the Suspect who again grabbed the side of K-9’s neck/face, but this time K-9’s momentum drove the Suspect backwards into the living room with the Suspect falling backwards with dog on top of him (breaking furniture as they fought).  K-9 engaged the Suspect and bit him in the face, head and arm.  The suspect, who felt NO pain, pulled dog away from his face and tried to choke K-9 with his arms and then cut dog’s air supply off with his hand all the while shouting “I am going to KILL this dog!”  K-9 growled and continued to fight the fight of his life.  A third Deputy arrived and tazed the Suspect 2 times while the Suspect was engaged in the fight with the K-9.  As the Suspect’s hold and desire to fight lessened, K-9 was pulled off of the suspect and put into a guard position about 4 feet away from the Suspect.  The Suspect was handcuffed and as a fourth Deputy moved in to remove broken furniture that was tangled in the Suspect’s leg, Suspect side kicked this Deputy, injuring his leg.  K-9 threatened re-engagement and the Suspect finally submitted, but not before spitting a mouthful of blood at K-9 and his Deputy Handler and threatened that “when all of this is over I am coming to kill both you and your dog!”

This K-9 NEVER gave up the position of putting himself between the ‘bad guy’ and his Handler.  K-9 was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice before allowing this crazed felon to injure his handler or any of the other Deputies.  He NEVER quit fighting until the Suspect was subdued even while the Suspect was trying to choke him and remove his air supply.  K-9 Griff is a dedicated public servant and and True Hero.

What the Deputies and K-9 Griff did not know when responding to this incident was that Suspect had committed and armed robbery (at gunpoint) of a Subway 3 hours before; had committed an armed robbery (at gunpoint) of a gas station 2 weeks before; and had been arrested for aggravated trafficking in marijuana and felony domestic violence 6 weeks before and was out on bond.  He had done 13 years at Lucasville Prison for armed robbery and had been out of prison only 2 years.  He had nothing to lose!

K-9 Griff fought the fight of his life so his handler and the other law enforcement personnel could go home safe and a violent felon with nothing to lose went to jail.

Now please welcome the recipient of THE GENE JASINSKI HERO DOG FOR OUTSTANDING BRAVERY AND PROTECTION IN THE LINE OF DUTY, K-9 GRIFF of the Summit County Sheriff’s Department along with his Handler, Deputy Kathy Wilmot.

 photos by woodland designs


Hero Dog Awards 2005
Hero Dog Awards 2004

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