Giving Paws to Say Thanks
published on 05/18/2011
Thanks to the generosity of many local businesses, the Catoosa Police Department has a new officer now “on the job.”
Officer Karo, a 19-month-old Dutch Shepherd from Holland, is officer Colbey Webster’s new canine partner. He’s been working with the police department since the middle of April.
Recently, Webster and Karo took time to make personal visits and say ‘thanks’ to the major contributors who helped make purchasing Karo a reality.
Their first stop was Melton Truck Lines, which donated the entire amount to purchase Karo — $8,900.
“As a member of the Catoosa community, we wanted to support the efforts of the police department to apprehend users and traffickers of illegal drugs,” said Bob Peterson, president of Melton Truck Lines. “We’re grateful for the efforts of the Catoosa Police Department, and simply wanted to give them another tool to keep our community safer and as drug-free as possible.”
While at Melton’s, Karo toured the facility and met many of their employees, who stopped to pet him.
“Karo isn’t an aggressive dog,” Webster said. “His training allows him to be around people, other dogs and children.”
Karo’s commands for job-related duties are in Dutch.
“It was much easier for me to learn about 12 Dutch words than for Karo to relearn his commands in English,” Webster said.
Karo’s second stop was CMC Recycling, which contributed $3,000. These funds purchased Karo’s state-of-the-art transport cage. It is temperature-regulated, so that if it gets too hot inside the car, the windows will automatically go down. And if Officer Webster gets into a bad situation, he can remotely open the doors and cage and let Officer Karo come to his aid.
“Through our work in the community, we have come to know and respect the officers at the Catoosa Police Department,” said Matt Bell, manager of CMC Recycling. “When officer Webster approached me with the opportunity, we felt the addition of Karo to the force would have a positive impact on the department and community as a whole.” Bell also noted his corporation encourages them to donate funds to the communities that they operate in.
Karo met CMC’s employees, as well, and general manager Mike Hudson braved putting on Karo’s “play” sleeve so CMC’s employees could watch Karo in action.
Hudson stood back, yelling at Karo, getting the dog riled up. At Webster’s command, Karo “attacked” the sleeve, only letting go when Webster told him to.
“I could feel the pressure of the dog’s teeth through the sleeve,” Hudson told the Times. “I don’t think I want to meet up with him without the sleeve!”
Karo’s treat for doing his job is his toy, which is a black kong ball with a rope to play tug-a-war with Webster.
“Everything he does is for this toy,” Webster explained. “It’s his reward.”
Karo’s final stop for the day was Visual Force, whose employees donated their time to install the K-9 cage in Webster’s police SUV.
Karo met owner Judy Chymiak and manager Mark Schondelmayer.
“It was an honor to help with this project,” Chymiak said.
Other businesses that contributed to Karo include BLM, RCB Bank, Bank of the Lakes and Catoosa Small Animal Hospital.
Outside of spending time meeting with residents and business owners, Karo has been needed on two calls.
The first was a recent burglary at the Catoosa Family Clinic; the second was a shots fired call.
“The first call we attempted to track the subject from the store, but it was raining and the time lapse was almost an hour, so no success,” Webster said. “The second call, I was looking for shots fired from a disturbance in Rolling Hills. I observed a white vehicle occupied by two males in the parking lot of the old Homeland.
“It was not the subjects, but Karo sniffed the outside of the car and alerted on basically the entire passenger side of the car,” Webster said.
The car was searched and marijuana seeds were found.
“Seeds and stems were found, and both subjects admitted to using illegal drugs in the car approximately one hour before Karo and I arrived,” Webster said. “Now that the weather is getting better, we are looking forward to more opportunities.”
According to Webster, Karo has done “really well” since he has arrived.
“He is liking all the other officers, and has broke the stressful atmosphere that is associated with this type of job by his playfulness and his always-happy attitude,” he said. “You can’t help but bond with such an amazing, hardworking and intelligent animal like Karo. He has already made his spot in our family and as my partner.”
Webster and Karo are together pretty much 24-7.
“We do just about everything together,” Webster said.
What’s it like during a typical day of a police dog’s life?
Webster’s and Karo’s daily routine begins at 9 a.m.
“Breakfast is at 9,” Webster said. “Then I go work out around 10:30.”
Karo’s daily workout is at noon.
“We usually go to a park and work on obedience, sprints and a two-mile run,” Webster explained. “Then at 3, we’re on duty.”
If they get off on time, Karo is in his kennel at 11:30 p.m. for bedtime.
“We are still training every day, and we travel to Claremore to train once a week with the Rogers County K-9 units, to be ready for any type of deployment needed,” Webster said.
Karo will be used mainly in the detection of narcotics. But he is also certified in tracking, search-and-rescue, criminal apprehension, and building searches.
If you were to ask Karo about his job, he might say, “It isn’t your everyday dog’s life, but someone has to do it.”
Catoosa Times Article