N.P.C.A. Member Awards*
The National Police Canine Association is proud of its members accomplishments.
These members were selected from nominations from their peers, for acts above and beyond the call of duty.
2015 Case of the Year Awards
2015 Patrol Case of the Year
Officer Jesse Miller and K9 Rocky, West Covina Police Department, CA
On September 11, 2015 at approximately 0141 hours Officer Miller was working on patrol. Officer Miller responded to the area of Sunset Ave and N. Garvey Ave to assist with a call of an officer down in the area. Dispatch advised an officer from the CHP was down and a suspect vehicle was last seen fleeing from the scene.
When Officer Miller arrived he saw the officer from CHP seated on a curb in the south portion of the parking lot. Another officer from CHP was kneeling next to the officer down and was holding pressure to a wound on his arm. The CHP officer had several open wounds on his face, head, arm, and possibly under his uniform. Officer Miller was advised that the CHP officer had been shot by a suspect in a silver or gray colored Cadillac Escalade with black paper plates. The CHP officer stated they were working a two-man unit and had conducted a traffic stop of the suspect vehicle when the suspect shot the officer in the parking lot during the stop. The CHP officer advised they were able to return fire at the suspect and suspect vehicle and that the vehicle’s rear and left side windows had been shattered by gunfire. The CHP officer stated a second subject, possibly a female was also in the vehicle at the time of the shooting. Additionally, he advised one of the tail lights to the suspect vehicle was not working and there was possible collision damage to the rear driver’s side.
Another officer located a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle as it entered the eastbound I10 freeway from Grand Ave. That officer attempted to stop the vehicle and a pursuit ensued. The suspect fled east on the I10 freeway for several miles, exceeding speeds of 105 miles per hour. Officer Miller responded to assist in the pursuit of the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle was pursued until it exited 4th Street. Visual was lost on the suspect vehicle. Multiple agencies assisted in searching for the suspect vehicle after it was last seen in the area of 4th Street and Baker.
Approximately 10 minutes later the vehicle was located and again a pursuit was initiated on Vineyard Ave to the eastbound I10 freeway, then north on the I15 freeway. The pursuit continued into the City of Fontana where it exited the freeway and proceeded eastbound on Foothill Blvd at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour. An assisting helicopter from LASD advised the vehicle had collided into a wall near an unknown side street.Officer Miller could see the helicopter orbiting north of the intersection at Tokay Ave at Foothill Blvd with the spotlight pointed to the street indicating the suspect vehicle’s location. He proceeded northbound on Tokay Ave in the direction where he could see multiple other police vehicles. Officer Miller could see the silhouette of a vehicle without any lights on driving at a high rate of speed southbound on Tokay Ave towards them. As the vehicle got closer he could see it was the suspect vehicle and multiple police vehicles were in pursuit of it. Suddenly without any warning the suspect drove the vehicle into the oncoming northbound lane. The suspect was clearly driving straight for one of the officer’s vehicle, using the vehicle as a weapon. The officer was able to swerve to the right and avoid being struck by the suspects’ vehicle. The suspect continued south in the northbound lane at a high rate of speed. The suspect then swerved to the right, then back to the left and aimed his vehicle directly at Officer Miller. Taking all the facts into consideration, Officer Miller felt it was imperative that he defend himself and removed his handgun. While leaning in towards the passenger side of his vehicle, bracing for the collision and the short distance he was from his vehicle, Officer Miller had a very short amount of time to aim and fire at the suspect. Fearing he would be killed by the suspect, he pointed his handgun at him as his vehicle quickly approached and fired one round. The suspect quickly swerved to the right after Officer Miller shot at him, narrowly missing his vehicle. Officers continued to pursue the suspect until he lost control of his vehicle in an undeveloped field near Arrow Hwy and Tokay Ave. It appeared the suspect vehicle was disabled at some point as he lost control and came to rest in the field. Officers from multiple assisting agencies were able to contain the suspect in his vehicle and requested the assistance of a Police Service Dog.
When Officer Miller arrived he could hear announcements were being made from a nearby police vehicle PA system. The announcements were clearly loud and audible and the suspect indicated by his responses that he could clearly hear what was being said. Multiple announcements were made to exit the vehicle and surrender. The suspect refused to exit the vehicle for at least two or three minutes, remaining seated with the driver’s door partially opened. The suspect’s hands were partially raised and Officer Miller could see he had blood on his face and arms.
The suspect exited the vehicle, however remained close to the open driver’s door. The suspect was told multiple times to lift his shirt from the back of his collar and rotate 360 degrees in order to see if he had any weapons concealed in his waistband. The suspect continuously dropped his hands while rotating and bulges could be seen within his pants. The suspect was told multiple times to keep his hands up, but he continuously refused to comply with the commands, dropping his hands near his waistband and pockets. The suspect was bleeding heavily from what appeared to be his right leg, possibly indicating he had been shot during the initial exchange of gunfire. The suspect appeared to carefully remain close to his open door where he could arm his self with weapons from inside the vehicle and shoot at officers.
The suspect was given more than five commands to keep his hands up both from the PA system as well as from multiple officers surrounding the vehicle. Officer Miller gave the suspect two announcements to keep his hands raised and in plain view or a police dog would be sent and he would be bit. Even after being given these commands, the suspect again dropped his hands near his waistband and pockets while his back was facing officers. The suspect could have peacefully surrendered at any point during the course of the incident (approximately 60 minutes) and was given instructions to keep his hands up at least seven times (including two announcements by Officer Miller that a police dog would bite him if he did not comply), however he was still refusing to obey commands.
After approximately two minutes and prior to deploying Rocky, based on all the facts, Officer Miller concluded his intention was to take the suspect into custody in the safest manner possible for everyone involved. Officer Miller knew using police service dogs makes it more likely officers will apprehend suspects without the risk of having to use deadly force, especially when a suspect is possibly armed with a weapon. Given the suspect’s refusal to comply with commands after attempting to kill multiple officers and dropping his hands out of view near his waistband and pockets could have been met by deadly force. The use of Rocky would directly save his life by apprehending him and preventing him from arming himself. By using Officer Miller’s police service dog in this manner, he greatly enhances the safety of the officers, bystanders and suspects. The suspect would not comply with commands and continuously dropped his hands to his waistband and pocket area where bulges were seen (possibly weapons) even after numerous commands and K9 announcements. After careful thought and consideration, Officer Miller decided to deploy Rocky to assist in apprehending the suspect.
The suspect turned away from officers and faced his vehicle while dropping his hands to his waistband and front pocket area. Fearing that the suspect could be arming himself, Officer Miller sent Rocky to bite the suspect. Rocky bit the suspect near the right side of his buttocks area. The suspect fell to the ground with Rocky still biting him. Officer Miller gave orders for the suspect to keep his hands up and crawl towards officers. The suspect remained on the ground and refused to comply with his commands. The suspect began grabbing Rocky by his muzzle and face, attempting to pull him off of the bite. Officer Miller yelled at the suspect to stop fighting with the dog and crawl towards him. The suspect remained on the ground refusing to crawl towards Officer Miller while fighting with Rocky. After approximately 10 to 15 seconds of fighting and Rocky being on the bite, Rocky came off the bite and circled around to the suspect’s left side. Rocky then bit the suspect on the back of his left leg near his calf for approximately 5-10 seconds. The suspect began rolling on the ground, pulling his leg from Rocky. Rocky then bit the suspect on his right leg above his ankle for approximately five seconds. Officer Miller continued to give commands for the suspect to crawl to him, however he still refused to obey his commands and remained on the ground close to his vehicle. This continued to pose a significant threat as the suspect could stand up and get to his vehicle at any point, drawing officers toward him for an ambush. Rocky released his bite while Officer Miller was yelling commands for the suspect to crawl towards him. Due to the still very dangerous position the suspect remained in, and to prevent him from removing any weapons concealed on his person, or enter his vehicle to arm himself, as well as to gain compliance, Officer Miller redirected Rocky to bite the suspect. The suspect sat up while facing his vehicle. Rocky bit the suspect on the back of his head for approximately two or three seconds. The suspect raised his hands to block his head, at that time Rocky bit the suspect on his right arm near his elbow. Officer Miller yelled multiple times for the suspect to keep his hands in plain view and crawl towards him. The suspect refused and laid flat on his back. Rocky bit the suspect on his right arm for approximately 30 to 40 seconds, while on his arm Officer Miller continued to yell commands for the suspect to crawl towards him. The suspect refused to comply and remained flat on his back.
Due to the facts that the suspect was not complying with commands and remained on the ground approximately 10 to 15 feet from his vehicle, was still suspected to be armed with a gun, his vehicle had not been searched and possibly had other armed occupants inside, Officer Miller felt the situation was too dangerous to approach the suspect. Officer Miller coordinated with assisting officers from CHP, Fontana PD, West Covina PD, and San Bernardino SD to call Rocky back to him and give the suspect additional commands to crawl to officers and surrender. At that time Officer Miller recalled Rocky he yelled at the suspect to crawl towards him or Rocky would be sent again and he would be bitten. The suspect verbally acknowledged yelling, “Ok sir, I will.” The fact that the suspect had been able to exit the vehicle and walk, turn around multiple times, and was now acknowledging he would crawl towards officers demonstrated to me that he could have done so all along, but refused. The fact that the suspect chose to comply and crawl towards officers to surrender was clearly a direct result of the use of Rocky. The suspect then slowly began crawling in the direction of nearby officers. Once the suspect was in a safe position, CHP officers took him into custody. Rocky was then sent into the suspect’s vehicle to search for other suspects hiding inside. Rocky searched the vehicle, then the vehicle was verified to be clear and secure by assisting officers.
2015 Runner up Patrol Case of the Year
Deputy Julio Locke and K9 Kilo, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, FL
According to the arriving deputies, they encountered loss prevention associates struggling with a black male suspect, who had attempted to steal two area rugs by switching price tags. The first arriving deputy attempted to handcuff the suspect. The suspect stated that he was “not going to jail” and continued to struggle with both the deputy and the loss prevention associates. Despite attempts to stop the suspect, he was able to flee through the front doors. Responding South District deputies, along with deputies from the Aviation and K‑9 Units, began to search for the suspect. Aviation and K‑9 deputies were able to track the suspect to the area of Jamaica Bay Blvd. and Impala Court. Deputy Lock and K9 Kilo encountered the suspect, who was hiding in a bush and ordered him to come out with his hands up. The subject refused and K‑9 Kilo attempted to apprehend him. As Kilo went to perform the apprehension, the subject wrapped his arms around Kilo’s neck, and pinned Kilo with the full weight of his body. As deputies attempted to stop the subject, Kilo’s body went limp, and Kilo passed out. Deputies attempted to physically stop the suspect and pull Kilo away; however, he continuously pulled Kilo and continued to wrap his arms around Kilo’s neck. As deputies continued to struggle with the suspect, Kilo woke up and bit him on his left arm and wrist.Deputies were able to take him into custody, and remove Kilo. The suspect was arrested and charged with Theft, Resisting a Merchant, Resisting Without Violence, and Using a Deadly Weapon on a Police Animal. Despite some facial swelling, Kilo is back on patrol and ready to serve the citizens of Lee County.
2015 Detection Case of the Year
Officer Brian Laas and K9 Beaker, Arvada Police Department, CO
On 02‑21‑15 at approximately 1425 hours Officer Laas responded to the area of eastbound I‑70 and Floyd Hill to assist a State Trooper. Trooper Poeppel was in contact with a vehicle which had been involved in an accident. Trooper Poeppel had spoken to the driver and the passenger. He advised there was conflicting stories between the two as to their destination and origination of their travels.Trooper Poeppel advised he would be writing the driver, a summons for traffic violations. Officer Laas then approached the vehicle and asked the driver to step out of the vehicle so he could speak to him. Officer Laas observed several air fresheners on the left side of the steering column of the vehicle. When the driver stepped out of the vehicle he took the keys out and locked the vehicle. Officer Laas asked him if there were any narcotics in the vehicle and the driver then informed him he did not speak English. Officer Laas then had the passenger translate his questions to him. The driver replied there were not. Officer Laas then asked if he could have his canine sniff the exterior of the car and he denied consent. Officer Laas had his K9 sniff the exterior of the vehicle. When his K9 “Beaker” did come to the driver’s window, he put his nose to the open window and almost jumped into the vehicle and then alerted. Officer Laas had him continue his sniff of the exterior of the vehicle. Officer Laas then had him come to the passenger’s side of the vehicle and Beaker did alert on the front passenger door. Officer Laas then advised the passenger, that his canine had alerted and he did believe there was narcotics in the vehicle. Officer Laas then asked him again if there was any narcotics in the vehicle. He then stated he had a little marijuana in the vehicle and he had a California medical marijuana card. Based on the alerts by Beaker Officer Laas had Beaker go into the interior of the vehicle to sniff. While checking the interior’s front seats he had no alerts. Officer Laas then had Beaker go into the backseat and he did alert. Officer Laas then took him out of the backseat of the vehicle and took him to the trunk which he had opened. Beaker sniffed the trunk area and he began to sniff a large duffel bag in the trunk and did alert in this area.Officer Laas went back and searched the interior of the vehicle. He did not locate any narcotics in this area including the marijuana that the passenger stated he had. Officer Laas then searched the trunk of the vehicle and the duffel bag in the trunk which was empty. He did observe that the tools for the spare tire and jack which are normally in the tire well were loose in the trunk and not stowed in their compartment. Officer Laas then lifted the felt liner to the tire well for the spare tire and observed numerous packages in this area which were shrink wrapped in plastic. It appeared that the packages were wrapped in duct tape and blue plastic as well. Officer Laas counted about thirty of these packages in the spare tire compartment and in the walls along the back of the trunk. Recovered 37 pounds of Methamphetamine. The agent in charge of this investigation explained that if it were not for the K9 alert they would not have had enough probable cause to obtain a search warrant.
2015 Runner up Detection Case of the Year
Detective Antonio Garcia and K9 Zina, Kansas City MO Police Department, MO
On September 21, 2015 at 0730 hours, K-9 Zina and Officer Garcia were conducting drug interdiction activities at The Greyhound Bus Lines. A bus arrived which originated out of Los Angeles, CA. K-9 Zina and Officer Garcia responded to conduct a sniff check of the luggage. K-9 Zina came into contact with a large black roller bag and immediately sat alerting to the odor of narcotics in or about the black roller bag. The baggage claim ticket showed the bag to be coming from Long Beach, CA to Kansas City, MO. Officer Garcia secured Zina and watched the bus. A Hispanic male exited the bus and picked up the black roller bag and made his way out onto the loading platform. Officer Garcia approached the Hispanic male, who subsequently gave him consent to search the black roller bag. Upon searching the bag, he located a large plastic bag that was wrapped inside of a large blanket. Inside of the large plastic bag was a total of nine large bundles wrapped in clear plastic cellophane. Officer Garcia also observed the bundles to have red grease in between the layer of cellophane. The suspect was placed under investigation arrest for possession of a controlled substance and escorted to the back of the bus station. Officer Garcia cut the bundles open and observed them to contain a crystal like substance (Methamphetamine), which tested positive for the presence of Methamphetamine. The Methamphetamine weighed 27 pounds. The suspect agreed to make a call to the person that was to pick him up at the bus station. A controlled delivery was conducted at the bus station and two suspects showed up to pick up the suspect. A total of three suspects were arrested and federally charged. The Methamphetamine had a street value of $1.8 Million and was the largest seizure of Methamphetamine at the Greyhound bus station in Kansas City, Missouri to date.
Case Summaries for Second Quarter 2016
North Central Region
Det. Antonio Garcia and K9 Zina, Kansas City MO Police Department, MO
On 06-27-2016 at approximately 0530 hours, Det. Garcia was working the sort at The Fed Ex facility. While working the sort, Det. Garcia located a parcel coming from Phoenix AZ. The parcel was being shipped to Kansas City, KS, weighing 6.80 pounds. The box appeared to be a used box and was taped with black tape and blue tape on the top and bottom seams. Det. Garcia then placed the parcel with other unrelated parcels. K-9 Zina was brought in to conduct a sniff check of the parcel. Upon K-9 Zina coming into contact with the parcel, K-9 Zina immediately sat alerting to the odor of narcotics in or about the parcel. The parcel was then taken into the custody of The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and transported to our unit located in Jackson County, Missouri until a search warrant could be obtained. The warrant was executed and upon opening the cardboard box, Det. Garcia observed a second cardboard box that was wrapped in clear cellophane. He removed the cellophane from the box and opened the box, at which time he observed five large bundles wrapped in black duct tape. Det. Garcia removed the black duct tape from the bundles and observed layers of clear cellophane and black carbon paper. He then removed the clear cellophane and black carbon paper and observed the bundles to contain a crystal-like substance consistent to that of Methamphetamine. The substance was field tested which showed a positive reaction for the presence of Methamphetamine. The crystal-like substance weighed approximately 6.0 pounds and was recovered at the unit to be forwarded to The Regional Crime Lab for further analysis. This parcel was containing the Methamphetamine was linked to a Federal case and lead to the indictment of several suspects during the Federal investigation.
Deputy James Ellefson and K9 Gabber, Morton County Sheriff’s Office, ND
On June 21, 2016 at approximately 03:00 hours, Deputy Ellefson overheard a Mandan PD call of possible shots fired near the Parktown Trailer Courts. Due to the nature of the call, Deputy Ellefson started to travel towards the call, in case any officer’s needed assistance. While en route, Deputy Ellefson overheard Officer Pynnonen call out they had seen a male driving a bicycle away from the location of the shots fired. Officer Pynnonen advised the male had fled the area on a bicycle and was last seen on the dike traveling westbound. A short time later, Deputy Ellefson arrived on scene with K9 Gabber. Per Officer Pynnonen, a perimeter was set up and the male subject should be between the dike and the river. Officer Pynnonen explained they gave the male subject verbal commands to stop and identified themselves as Police Officer’s while the subject fled the area. K9 Gabber was then deployed from the last known area of the male riding the bike. The ground surface was rocky and weed/grass height ranging from 1 ft to 4 ft. K9 Gabber tracked for approximately 200-300 yards on a 15-foot leash. While tracking, K9 Gabber pulled hard to the south heading towards the river banks. As they approached the river, K9 Gabber shifted westbound on the river bank and located the male subject attempting to hide. Multiple verbal commands were given to the male subject to show his hands. The male dropped items in his hands and gave himself up without incident. The male subject was identified as the male that fled on the bicycle. The male subject was then taken into custody by Mandan PD and transported to jail. The male subject was ultimately charged with refusal to halt and possession of a concealed weapon.
Investigator Thomas Hayes and K9 Boo, Lakewood Police Department, CO
On June 19, 2016, information was received from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Denver Field Division (DFD) Strike Force Group (SFG) that a possible load of drugs was expected to arrive in Denver Colorado. During the same period of time, a Global Positioning System (GPS) “ping” on the cellular phone of a drug courier indicated that he was traveling from the State of Arizona and into the State of Colorado. On the same day, SFG personnel established surveillance in and around southern Colorado in an attempt to identify the couriers’ vehicle as he drove towards the metro-Denver area. Later the same day, GPS “pings” on the phone indicated he had already arrived in the metro-Denver area. SFG personnel were then able to locate the courier in a BMW. SFG personnel then followed the courier as he drove towards a meet location. A short time later, SFG personnel requested marked Denver Police Department (DPD) vehicles conduct a traffic stop of the courier. Subsequent to the traffic stop, the vehicle was towed by DPD and the courier was released from the scene in order to protect the integrity of the on-going investigation. On June 20, 2016, Task Force Officer Tom Hayes conducted a K-9 sniff of the vehicle with K-9, Boo. K-9 Boo displayed a positive alert to the left side of the BMW’s trunk and a search warrant was obtained. On June 22, 2016, the search warrant was executed on the vehicle belonging to the courier, which resulted in the discovery and seizure of 6.7 pounds of heroin within a box inside the trunk of the BMW. This investigation continues.
South Central Region
Cpl. Bradley Guidry and K9 Buddy, Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office, LA
On May 4th, 2016, Cpl. Guidry and K9 Buddy were called to serve an arrest warrant with the U.S. Marshal’s Office for a suspect wanted for robbery warrants, and the suspect was a known flight risk. When they arrived at the suspects residence, he ran inside and then exited the front door. Cpl. Guidry ordered the suspect to the ground, and he did not comply, so Cpl. Guidry sent K9 Buddy to apprehend the suspect. The suspect then took off on foot and they began tracking the suspect from the residence into a wooded area. K9 Buddy located the suspect and engaged him. The suspect tried to roll on top of Buddy but Buddy reengaged the suspect, until another Deputy could take him into custody.
Officer Michael Reddin and K9 Bram, Mesa Police Department, AZ
During the evening hours of May 25, 2016, the Arizona Department of Public Safety received several calls reporting an active shooter along the Beeline Highway northeast of the Phoenix/Mesa valley. Several callers reported seeing a male subject who was armed with an assault rifle or “machine gun”, and the subject was actively shooting at passing vehicles. Additional reports revealed two passing motorists had been hit by gunfire. The first was grazed by a bullet on the head, and the second was shot in the leg. Fortunately, both victims survived their injuries.
DPS dispatched several units to the area and requested assistance from the surrounding agencies. Officers from Arizona DPS, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Fort McDowell Indian Reservation Police Department, Salt River/Pima Indian Police Department, and the Mesa Police Department responded. One of the responding DPS vehicles was struck by gun fire as it arrived in the area. Additional reports indicated the armed suspect stole a vehicle at gun point from a gas station near the Fort McDowell Casino. After stealing the vehicle, the suspect was seen driving northeast along the highway and further into the desert.
Officer Michael Redden of the Mesa Police Department’s K9 Unit responded to the area along with Mesa SWAT officers and the Mesa Police Department’s Air Unit. When Officer Redden arrived in the area he joined Arizona DPS Troopers and MCSO Deputies who were checking the welfare of potential victims in the area.
A short time later a vehicle matching the description of the stolen vehicle was reported to be seen in a ditch further up the highway in a desolate desert area. By this time, Arizona DPS SWAT was on scene, but they did not have a canine unit. Officer Redden and his K9 partner, Bram, volunteered to integrate with DPS SWAT and loaded into their armored vehicle. They responded to the area where the vehicle was last seen. Meanwhile, the Mesa Air Unit located the vehicle off the roadway and in a ditch. The Air Unit could not see if the vehicle was occupied or not. Officer Redden and DPS SWAT responded to the area. When they arrived, they located the
vehicle deep in a ditch and off the roadway. Officer Redden deployed K9 Bram and released him to clear the vehicle. K9 Bram did not locate or alert to anyone in the vehicle or in the immediate area. At that point, Officer Redden and DPS SWAT officers moved up to manually clear the vehicle. The vehicle was unoccupied, but they found an AR-15 rifle, several rounds of ammunition and pieces of body armor in the vehicle. The location of the suspect was unknown, but they knew he had to be close by.
A very short time later the Mesa Air Unit located the suspect approximately 100 yards away in the desert. The suspect was lying on the ground near a large bush and in an elevated position. The air crew reported seeing the suspect move, but they could not tell if he was still armed or not. The air crew kept the suspect in sight while Officer Redden and DPS SWAT officers formulated a plan to approach and contact him. By this time, they knew the suspect had already shot at least two people, and a responding police vehicle. They knew the suspect was likely armed and he was currently hiding in a position of tactical advantage. Officer Redden knew the inherent and likely imminent risk, but he also knew the suspect had to be taken into custody before he started shooting again. Officer Redden decided to approach the suspect in the desert putting his own safety at very serious risk.
Officer Redden and a team of DPS SWAT officers started moving through the desert towards the suspect with K9 Bram leading the way. They moved very quietly under the cover of darkness using a “Stealth to contact” tactic. Officer Redden used his dog and guidance from the Air Unit to pin point the suspect’s location. Once Officer Redden was certain K9 Bram was in odor and had located the suspect’s general location, he paused briefly to consider the best course of action to contact the suspect. There was virtually no cover as they were in the open desert and the suspect was in an elevated position giving him a very clear tactical advantage. For that reason, Officer Redden made the decision to send K9 Bram to apprehend the suspect without making any announcements. Officer Redden did this because he did not want to make any noise and alert the suspect to the location of the team. Officer Redden commanded K9 Bram to apprehend the suspect and released the tension on his long leash. K9 Bram ran towards a large bush. K9 Bram quickly located and engaged the suspect on the opposite side of the bush. K9 Bram was now biting the suspect’s lower, right leg. The suspect immediately started yelling and screaming. Knowing K9 Bram was successfully distracting the suspect, Officer Redden and the SWAT officers started closing on the suspect. As Officer Redden got closer he could see the suspect was actively fighting with K9 Bram. The suspect was punching Bram on the head and at one point he reached down and tried to pry Bram’s jaws open. K9 Bram released his bite on the suspect’s leg and re-bit him on the shoulder/neck area. This momentarily pushed the suspect back to the ground. However, Officer Redden could see the suspect quickly started resisting again. The suspect was actively pushing, and punching at K9 Bram as he started working himself into a position on his hands and knees. Fearing the armed suspect would be able to engage officers if he were allowed to get to his feet, Officer Redden joined the fight and helped K9 Bram subdue the suspect. DPS SWAT officers also assisted. They were able to force the suspect back to the ground and quickly secure him in handcuffs. Once the suspect was secured in handcuffs, Officer Redden commanded K9 Bram to release his bite.
Once the suspect was in custody, officers searched the area. They discovered the suspect had been armed with a handgun and he had several rounds of ammunition. He was also wearing body armor. At one point the suspect commented he had been caught completely by surprise when K9 Bram located and bit him.
The suspect refused to make any statements or talk to the officers. However, as he was being transported to the hospital to treat his dog bite injuries, the suspect did make one very revealing statement. The suspect stated it was his intention to shoot and kill as many responding police officers as possible.
West Coast Region
Det. Justin Mazzei and K9 Neo, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, CA
On May 4, 2016, Det. Mazzei was asked to assist LASD’s Domestic Highway Enforcement team, to have his K9 conduct a sniff of a vehicle they had stopped for a traffic violation. The Enforcement team advised Det. Mazzei that they had obtained consent and had searched the vehicle but had been unable to locate any narcotics. Det. Mazzei deployed K9 Neo and during the search, Neo alerted to a spare tire that was inside the trunk. The tire was removed and cut open to reveal a large amount of methamphetamine. Approximately 10lbs of methamphetamine was found inside.
Det. Nicole Pepo and K9 Duke, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, CA
On March 2, 2016, Det. Nicole Pepo and her partner K9 Duke were requested by the LASD Domestic Highway Enforcement team, to conduct a sniff of a vehicle that had been stopped on the Interstate. Det. Pepo had Duke sniff the exterior of the vehicle. Duke alerted to the rear area underneath the rear hatch. Once deployed inside the vehicle, Duke once again alerted to the rear hatchback area. He also alerted on the inside passenger side panel. Based on his alerts, a hand search was done of these areas. 19 pounds of methamphetamine were seized.
Case Summaries for First Quarter 2016
North Central Region
Det. Antonio Garcia and K9 Zina, Kansas City MO Police Department, MO
On March 11, 2016 at 0825 hours, Det. Garcia along with other members of the Drug Interdiction Squad were conducting drug interdiction activities at The Greyhound Bus Lines in Kansas City, MO. Det. Garcia responded with K-9 Zina to conduct a sniff check of the luggage under the bus. He observed K-9 Zina to be in odor and was sniffing the top side of the luggage compartment of the bus. After all passengers had exited the bus, the bus was taken to the Greyhound garage area to be serviced. Det. Garcia then responded to the garage area with K-9 Zina and boarded the passenger compartment of the bus to conduct a sniff check of the luggage. Upon K-9 Zina coming into contact with a black Adidas duffel bag, K-9 Zina immediately sat alerting to the odor of narcotics in or about the black duffel bag. The duffel bag had no identification attached to it. At approximately 0855 boarding for the bus was called and Det. Garcia observed passengers boarding. He then observed an unknown Hispanic female exit the bus carrying the black duffel bag that K-9 Zina had alerted to. Det. Garcia approached the female and identified myself to her as a police officer. He then asked her if he could talk to her, to which she stated “Yes”. Det. Garcia then explained to her that he worked for The Drug Enforcement Unit and that he talked to passengers who could be transporting anything illegal. He then asked her if he could search her black duffel bag, to which she stated “Yes”. Upon opening the black duffel bag, Det. Garcia opened the “Star Wars” box and observed a large bundle wrapped in clear cellophane. Under the clear cellophane he observed carbon paper. The way that the bundle was wrapped was consistent to the way illegal narcotics are packaged for transporting. She was then placed under investigation arrest for possession of a controlled substance and escorted to back of the bus station. Det. Garcia then conducted a further search of both boxes incident to her arrest, at which time he observed the Star Wars box to contain three bundles. Det. Garcia could see two of the bundles to contain a white crystal like substance. He then removed the cellophane from the third bundle and observed a plastic container, and observed the plastic container to contain a crystal like substance. The crystal like substance in all three bundles was field tested using the Methamphetamine Test Kit, which showed a positive reaction for the presence of Methamphetamine. The three bundles of crystal like substance weighed approximately 4.6 pounds. Det. Garcia then opened the other box and observed the box to contain two bundles. One bundle was wrapped in clear plastic and he observed it to contain a crystal like substance. The second bundle was sealed with clear cellophane. They then removed the clear cellophane, at which time they observed it to contain a plastic container. The plastic container was opened and observed it to contain a crystal like substance. The crystal like substance in both bundles was field tested using the Methamphetamine Test Kit, which showed a positive reaction for the presence of Methamphetamine. The two bundles of crystal like substance weighed approximately 3.9 pounds. The total of five bundles of crystal like substance weighing a total of approximately 8.5 pounds was released to the custody of T.F.O. Morgan for a possible controlled delivery. A delivery was conducted and they traveled to Rogers, Arkansas with the suspect who made delivery. A Male was taken into custody and $4,000 in U.S. currency was seized. He also had a stolen handgun in his possession.
Officer Matt Hashagen and K9 Fall, Shawnee Kansas Police Department, KS
On January 6th, 2016 at about 2156 hours, Officer Hashagen was dispatched to assist a Lenexa Officer that attempted to stop a vehicle and was shot at. The suspect vehicle made two U-Turns and shot at the officer twice. Radio traffic indicated that the suspect vehicle was fleeing and then both occupants fled on foot after wrecking their vehicle. The Lenexa Officers advised the suspects had fled the area on foot south bound. Since there were three police dogs on the scene, it was decided each canine team would take a designated portion of the area to be searched as to not get in each other’s way as they all searched southbound. Officer Hashagen was to work on the west side of Charles Street searching the fronts and between houses moving south. The original plan was to not travel into the back yards of the homes on Charles Street because a Lenexa Canine Handler was searching the back yards in the area between Charles Street and Charles Court. Before beginning the search, Officer Hashagen gave a series of three canine warnings. After there was no response, Fall was given the command to track. Canine Fall was displaying good tracking behavior by keeping his nose to the ground and moving forward. At two points in the track, Officer Hashagen observed what appeared to be fresh foot prints in patchy areas of snow on the ground. Canine Fall passed within a couple of feet of these foot prints as he continued tracking south near the backs of the homes. Even without seeing the foot prints in the snow, it was apparent to Officer Hashagen Canine Fall was actively tracking a suspect. When they got to an area between 7330 and 7402 Charles, Fall began to slow down and he turned to the east to go between the houses. His head lifted from the ground and his nose went into the air. Fall had not acted like that at any of the other house leading up to that point. Officer Hashagen believed the suspect(s) were near their area. They were near the northeast corner of 7402 Charles Street when Officer Hashagen heard another officer say that he saw someone under a bush about 10 feet away from their location. Prior to this, Canine Fall was displaying behavior that lead Officer Hashagen to believe a suspect was near. When the yelling by Officers began at the suspect under the bush, another officer stepped out from the southeast corner of 7330 Charles. Officer Hashagen moved toward the officer and took Fall off the lead and directed him toward the bushes and bay window area. Officer Hashagen could hear an officer saying something about there being a second suspect hiding in the bushes. Officer Hashagen commanded Fall into the bushes and to bite the suspect. Officer Hashagen was not going to order Fall off the bite until the suspect came out to the officers. Officer Hashagen could see Fall biting his right arm area. One suspect was then taken into custody by the other Officers as Officer Hashagen put Fall back on a lead. After the two suspects were taken into custody, Officer Hashagen walked the back yards of the homes they had tracked in looking for the handgun that was used to shoot at the Lenexa Police Officer. Once back at 73 Terr. and Charles, it was decided to search the north side of 73 Terr. in case a third suspect had fled to the north from the suspect vehicle. Starting at about 12122 w 73 Terr, Officer Hashagen took Canine Fall west bound in the front (south) yards of homes. They went to about 12204 w 73 Terr.. There was no tracks established in this area. They then moved to the back yard of 12204 w 73 Terr. and worked east bound in the ravine area to 12212 w 73 Terr. No suspect tracks were developed. Finally, Officer Hashagen was asked to respond with Lenexa Officer King to the area of 75th and Westgate to conduct an article search for a gun. The area of 75th Street and Westgate was chosen as a starting as this was where the suspect vehicles tires had been flattened. Officer King searched with Canine Wrecker east bound on 75th Street on the south side of the road. Canine Fall and Officer Hashagen searched on the north side of 75th Street. Once we got to Charles, he searched the west side of the road. Officer King searched the east side of Charles. We stopped at 7402 Charles where the suspects had been located and areas north of there had previously been searched with the police canines. No evidence items were located in these areas. Officer Hashagen later responded to the station and made contact with one of the suspects. The suspect was asked where he had been bitten by Canine Fall. The suspect held up his right arm area and allowed me to take photographs of his right forearm and right hand. He said that he had also be bitten on the left hand. All of these wounds were photographed. He was confirmed as the shooter.
Det. Steve Miller and K9 Rocky, Springfield MO Police Department, MO
While conducting parcel interdiction at a commercial sort on February 19th, 2016, PSD Rocky indicated on a parcel intended for Aurora, MO from Riverside, California. A search warrant was obtained for the parcel and 4 pounds of meth was subsequently seized. Through this interdiction, they were able to identify the intended target and interdicted two more parcels the following day containing another 10 pounds of methamphetamine, 14 pounds total. A search warrant was executed at the residence, however the suspect fled the residence on foot and was not located. PSD Rocky indicated on a 2011 Camaro and a half pound of meth was located in the center console. These parcels were tracked back to a sender in California who was identified. The 14 pound interdiction led to a case being opened in California and Hawaii. Hawaii DEA has taken the lead on the case and will be indicting the suspect, and several others for the 30 plus pounds of physical meth they have seized reference these targets.
Deputy Kerry DiLorenzo and K9 Graffit, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, CO
On February 12, 2016, information was received by Denver DEA Strike Force Group that a female would drive a vehicle, to California, with an unknown amount of drug proceeds. It was suspected but not known for certain that this female was then to receive drugs which would be secreted into the vehicle and driven back to Colorado. On February 14, 2016, Global Positioning System (GPS) “pings” on the cellular phone utilized by this female indicated she was currently traveling through the western portion of Colorado. At this time, Denver SFG personnel established surveillance across central Colorado in anticipation of locating the vehicle and conducting a traffic stop. A short time later, agents and officers identified the vehicle, driven by the female with two juveniles inside. At approximately 7:00 PM, SFG personnel requested the assistance of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department (JCSD) marked units to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle. Subsequent to the traffic stop, Deputy Kerry DiLorenzo and K-9 Graffit conducted a narcotics K-9 sniff on the vehicle. K-9 Graffit alerted to the presence of illegal drugs within the vehicle. The female and the two juveniles were released from the scene and the vehicle was impounded until a warrant could be obtained. On February 17, 2016, SFG personnel executed a search warrant on the vehicle, which resulted in the discovery and seizure of approximately 6.6 pounds of heroin and one-half pound of cocaine. The drugs were located in a sophisticated trap within the vehicle which was activated by an electronic switch inside the fuse compartment.
South Central Region
Sgt. Allen Desormeaux and K9 Macho, Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office, LA
On Saturday, February 27, 2016 at approximately 1452 hours, Sgt. Allen Desormeaux stopped a vehicle on interstate 10 westbound near mile marker 39 for improper lane use. Sgt. Desormeaux identified the driver and during the traffic stop, he observed indicators of criminal activity. Sgt. Desormeaux believed that the driver was actively involved in major criminal activity and requested consent to search his vehicle. The driver refused consent to the search but did consent to a free air sniff by a K-9. Sgt. Desormeaux deployed K-9 Macho at that time. K-9 macho showed a positive indication to the presence of a narcotic odor on the vehicle at that time. Deputies conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle. Deputies located approximately $851,300.00 in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Sgt. Desormeaux observed that the currency was vacuum sealed and wrapped with duct tape. Sgt. Desormeaux observed that the concealment and packing methods of the currency were consistent with illegal proceeds derived from drug transactions. The driver was arrested, and the currency and vehicle were seized.
Officer Adam Little and K9 Joris, Beaumont Police Department, TX
On March 28th, 2016 at about 1700 hours, Officer Little and K9 Joris were called to assist patrol officers, interdiction and DEA agents with a traffic stop. Upon arrival, the vehicle had already been searched; however officers believed there was a hidden compartment in the vehicle. K9 Joris was deployed and showed a positive narcotics odor response to the dash board on the interior of the vehicle. A search behind the dash dashboard/stereo area revealed a hidden compartment with 1 kilo of Heroin and $10k hidden inside. Officer Little was then asked to assist officers with a knock and talk at the residence where this vehicle was seen leaving. K9 Joris was then deployed in the residence and showed several odor responses throughout the residence. A total of 20gms of Crack Cocaine, a hand gun, Promethazine, Heroin residue and Ecstasy were located. 2 Felony arrests were made.