In a flash the dog covers 25 yards or so and knocks the fleeing man to the ground, sinking his teeth into the upper sleeve of the man’s coat.
|Officer Kelly Clark with Bruno, and Officer Scott Simms
with Alex. Both dogs are Belgian Malihois. (Press photo
by Ken Grosjean)
Seeing the dog leaping onto the man’s back, several in the crowd gasp, amazed at the rapidity of the attack and how quickly the man is on the ground.
Fortunately for the man he’s wearing a bite suit designed for just such an attack.
K-9 units from law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio were in Lake Township last week for three days of training and certification sessions capped off by a demonstration for the public at Friendship Park.
Brian Woods, a retired K-9 officer with the Fremont Police Department and master trainer, surprised the crowd himself with some facts about the dogs.
Although their capabilities make them an asset to law enforcement, the dogs aren’t necessarily the smartest breeds, he said, noting the Belgian Malinois in particular isn’t known for its intelligence.
“We want them dumb,” he said. “If not, they would do what they want to do.”
Many of the dogs come from Europe when they are about 1½ years old. Because their early upbringing is in a language other than English, trainers in the U.S. continue to use commands in the language the dog has been raised on, Woods said.
Three dogs he worked with on the Fremont force – Quarz, Marco, and Mink – are listed on the honor roll of the North American Police Work Dog Association. The roll is for retired dogs or those who died other than in the line of duty. There is a separate listing – Pages of Valor – commemorating the dogs that’ve been killed in the line of duty.
The demonstration Wednesday was organized by the Lake Township Police Department’s K-9 officers, Kelly Clark and Scott Sims.
“The public rarely gets to see what we do,” Clark said. “This way we can demonstrate what they’re capable of doing in a controlled environment.”
Lake Township’s two dogs, Bruno and Alex, are primarily funded through grants and donations, she said.
In 2008, Bruno, alerted to the back seat of a vehicle that police stopped in the northbound lane of I-280 for driving with an expired tag.
Two bags containing about $119,500 were found and two men from Boardman, O. were arrested.
Sims says the department’s dogs “are like having another person in the patrol car.”
In separate demonstrations during last week’s event, two dogs are able to find narcotics planted in a SUV in a matter of seconds.