Police K-9 dog "Recon" licks Zed Edgar's
hair tickling him at the old Akron Police shooting
range, August 6, 2013 in Akron, Ohio. The
Fraternal Order of Police "Hogs for
Dogs" community fundraiser picnic in August
will help support the Akron Police K-9 unit.
Ohio ó Criminals need to heed the warning on the back
of T-shirts Akron, Ohioís K-9 officers wear: "You
fight. We bite."
the dogs and their handlers have the teeth necessary to
do the job, said Sgt. Dale Dorn, commander of the nine
dogs and their handlers in the Akron Police Departmentís
who end up in court because a dog sniffed them out are
usually in for more trouble than they planned, he said.
always believe the dog. They know dogs have no incentive
or reason to lie," said Dorn, who has been in the
K-9 unit for 17 years.
week, handlers and their dogs meet at a training
facility on Cuyahoga Street to put both patrol and
drug-sniffing dogs through exercises to keep their
skills sharp. Handlers take turns mowing the grass and
keeping the equipment in shape at the center.
a recent training exercise, dogs tracked officers
impersonating criminals as they hid in simulated
buildings or behind automobile doors and tried
unsuccessfully to flee.
explained that the dogs are an added layer of protection
nice to have the dog as a buffer. Even if the bad guy is
armed, do you know how hard it is to shoot a moving
a recent practice session was an experience of a
lifetime for Zed Edgar and his friend, Andrew Jewell,
both 8 and students at St. Sebastian School.
mother, Mary Pat Doorley, was high bidder for the event
at a fundraising auction at the school last September.
chief spokeswoman for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park,
said she took a vacation day to accompany the boys to
the practice so they could meet their favorite dogs and
brought the K-9 training poster for the officers to
sign," Doorley said.
boys watched Officer Darren McConnell and his Belgian
Malinois patrol dog, Recon, stop a "bad guy"
ó portrayed by a fellow officer ó in his tracks.
Recon was introduced to the boys after the demonstration
and seemed as taken with them as they were with him.
always had a respect for what they can do,"
McConnell said of the dogs. "We are together 24
hours a day, seven days a week ó whether we want to be
or not," he joked.
K-9 teams visit classrooms and give seminars to educate
the community about the services the dogs provide.
tell their audiences that no matter how tempting, never
approach the animal without getting permission from the
want to go home and say, ĎI touched a police dog.í
Itís like a feather in their cap," Dorn said.
are hunting dogs bred to work in packs. They are
generally used for patrolling duties because they get
along well with each other.
being a bad guy in Akron and you have not one but two
dogs coming after you," Dorn said.
Al Jones has been a member of the Street Narcotic
Uniform Detail (SNUD) for 19 of the 22 years he has been
on the department. His black Labrador retriever named
Midnight is a drug sniffer, trained to find drugs on
people and in buildings and cars.
dog lives in harmony with Jonesí grandchildren and
with his daughterís tiny Yorkshire terrier/poodle mix,
little guy ó (grandson) Dominique ó heís crazy
about him. I come in late at night and he calls the
dog," Jones said.
his wife agreed to share their home with Midnight, Jones
conceded to her one demand: The dog sleeps in a kennel,
not in the coupleís bed.
answer was never in question, Jones said.
been with her 29 years, and Iíll only be with him
three years," he joked.
STORY CAN END HERE)
1992, the unit has been able to function with financial
support from the city and donations from the public.
Dornís partner for the past 10 years, is on the cusp
of retirement. As a retiree, Gunny will live out his
golden years as a favored member of the Dorn family.
including a community picnic, pay for office supplies
and items the teams use for public relations. The dogs
are a huge hit with residents, and the unit is probably
the most popular in the cityís police department, Dorn
incidentals are about $3,000 to $4,000 a year,"
said Dorn, just about the same as the K-9 unit takes in
at the fundraiser each year on donated silent auction
city pays for food, veterinarian bills and the
occasional boarding fee. All other expenses are paid by
the handlers or through fundraising efforts.
(James) Nice sees the advantages of our unit for the
safety of officers and the cost efficiency," Dorn
said. Akron businesses donate funds to purchase the
animals, so the city hasnít had to buy a dog in years,
which is estimated to run between $15,000 and $20,000,
is all done in-house.
do our own training here with curriculum from the state
of Ohio. Weíve graduated 12 dogs, and the cost is
immensely reduced," Dorn said.