Sunday, March 25, 2001

Police dog's tenacity earns regional awards

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A police dog's persistence — and his refusal to be intimidated by a combative suspect — has earned recognition for him and his handler.

        Wolf, a Hamilton police canine, and Officer Jim Gross recently learned that their Dec. 5 apprehension of a suspect earned regional awards from the U.S. Police Canine Association.

[photo] Hamilton Police Officer Jim Gross and his dog, “Wolf,”
(Dick Swaim photo)
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        “The whole idea is to give recognition to those teams that do the good work,” said Russ Hess, the association's executive director. “The officers who obtain those awards are usually involved in a critical incident or a high-profile incident.”

        Bradley Russell Parker, 35, allegedly ran from Officer Gross, then began “punching and kicking” Wolf as the dog tackled the suspect and bit him, a police report says. Wolf responded to commands until the suspect shouted, “OK, OK, I quit! Get your dog off me!”

        Officer Gross said he also had to use chemical irritant spray to subdue the suspect.

        Mr. Parker, originally sought on a felony charge, was found guilty of misdemeanor charges of assault, resisting arrest and assaulting a police dog. He was found guilty last month and sentenced to six months in jail.

        Competing with officers from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, Wolf and Officer Gross received “catch of-the-month” and “catch-of-the-quarter” for their work in that incident. The plaque is on display at police headquarters.

        “Wolf obeyed all the commands. It was a good apprehension,” Officer Gross said.

        Officer Gross and Wolf, a 3 1/2-year-old German shepherd imported from Holland, went to work on the streets of Hamilton 16 months ago; the dog also lives with Officer Gross.

        Officer Dave Crawford, a dog-lover, has sometimes volunteered to act as a “suspect” in training exercises with the department's canines. While Officer Crawford wears a padded sleeve, the dog responds to commands to bite — and halt the suspect.

        “Out of the three patrol dogs that we've had, I tell you Wolf has the most in credible bite,” Officer Crawford said. “He does leave your arm sore, even with the sleeve. I'd hate to run and be tackled and bitten by this dog without the sleeve.”

        Minutes after the training exercise, Wolf again responded to commands; with his tail wagging, Wolf accepted a doggie treat from Officer Crawford.

        “He can change that quick, from work to play. It all goes back to the training and obeying the commands from his handler,” Officer Crawford said.

        Officer Gross said that his dog at home is “like a big puppy.”

        “But at work, he's all business — no petting allowed,” Officer Gross said. “He definitely takes care of me.”

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