The South Euclid Police Department K9 Unit was founded in 2002 to support the efforts of patrol officers and detectives in a variety of ways. The South Euclid Police K9 teams are trained in:
- Narcotics Detection
- Building and Area Search
- Evidence Recovery
- Suspect Apprehension
- Handler Protection
The South Euclid Police K9 Unit is currently made up of two K9 teams. Patrolman Mike Fink is partnered with K9 Kolbe, a Belgian Malinois, who joined the department in 2013. K9 Kolbe was purchased with a grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation following the retirement of SEPD’s original police work dog, K9 Rex, who retired in 2012. Patrolman Miles Blansette is partnered with K9 Kaos, a German shepherd who joined the department in 2013 following the retirement of Patrolman Blansette’s first partner, K9 Recon. K9 Kaos was purchased with an anonymous donation from the community. Both of the dogs were born in Slovakia and were imported to the United States to work as police service dogs. Patrolman Mike Fink serves as the K9 Unit supervisor. Sadly, in June 2016, retired K9 Recon passed away peacefully with Ptl. Blansette and his family at his side. Recon served in the K9 Unit from 2006 until 2013, when he was forced to retire after being diagnosed with cancer. Recon’s retirement was spent comfortably living with his handler and his family. Recon will be remembered for his dedication to his partner and his outstanding work as a member the K9 unit. Rest easy Recon. In 2017, the K9 unit responded to a wide variety of calls for service. These are just a few examples of the many ways our K9 teams assist the community.
- Multiple drug sniffs resulting in the seizure of heroin, cocaine and marijuana, as well as suspected drug money were conducted. These sniffs were requested by the South SEPD K9 teams searched numerous buildings for hidden suspects.
- After a vehicle fled from a traffic stop and crashed, the driver fled into the Winston/Bluestone area. A K9 team located him hiding in a shed. It was later determined the driver had just committed an armed robber in Cleveland. During the course of locating the suspect, the K9 team suffered a serious laceration to his leg.
- A K9 team apprehended a driver who was intoxicated and had fled from officers. When located the driver remained uncooperative until apprehended by the dog.
- An SEPD K9 team located a suspect who had broken into a school building in neighboring University Heights.
- When the Euclid Police Department had an officer involved shooting, a SEPD K9 located the suspect’s gun, which had been discarded in a heavily wooded area.
- An SEPD K9 team assisting the United States Postal Inspectors located a package of methamphetamine that a suspect had hidden in a creek bed on an abandoned golf course after fleeing from officers.
- K9 teams were deployed for preventive actions on numerous occasions in 2016. During these deployments, the presence of the K9 teams aided in defusing situations and restoring peace. These included an armed suicidal suspect, and several armed robberies.
The ultimate success of a police K9 team, and the resulting safety of the community, is directly related to the amount of quality in-service training the team receives. It is for this reason that the South Euclid Police Department K9 Unit pursues advanced training with a sense of urgency. Both Patrolman Fink and Patrolman Blansette serve as K9 evaluators for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. The department is also certified to conduct in-house K9 training through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Patrolman Fink holds national accreditation through the North American Police Work Dog Association as a master trainer of patrol and narcotics detection K9 teams. Our K9 unit is also the anchor agency for a regional K9 training group that meets bi-monthly to conduct in-service K9 training. The group is made up of dog teams from numerous area law enforcement agencies. The K9 teams also take part in many community policing activities throughout the year. These include formal events, such as National Night Out and the city hall open house. K9 teams also make their presence known in the community by visiting classrooms at local schools. The students at Adrian Elementary School in particular are well acquainted with SEPD K9 teams. Our dog teams can also be seen walking through city parks or visiting block parties. In addition to being a patrol/narcotics team, K9 Kolbe is deployed alongside the EDGE SWAT Team during tactical operations. The K9 team adds a unique set of skills to the tactical team. Deployments include searching confined spaces, high risk building searches, perimeter containment or high risk open area searches. The K9 team also provides a unique less lethal option to the SWAT Team for subduing criminals. Prior to deploying with the SWAT Team, K9 Kolbe and his handler attended an intensive training course to prepare them for the tactical environment. They also routinely attend SWAT training to maintain their skills. The South Euclid Police K9 Unit will continue to work to ensure that the department has the best K9 unit available to assist our officers in keeping the community safe. Training will continue to be a priority, both in the areas of patrol operations and narcotics detection. The spirit of community policing is a role the K9 Unit embraces and will continue to use to foster a positive and mutually supportive relationship with the community.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN