Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

July 8, 2013

K-9 helps snuff out illegal alien

By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — One Medina Police Officer’s enhanced sense of smell helped sniff out a repeat offender over the weekend.

Kye, the department’s K-9, helped find a male who had run from the law.

Sgt. Todd Draper said the incident started when his colleague, Officer Steven Fox, executed a vehicle and traffic stop near the ethanol plant on Bates Road at 3:45 p.m. on June 30. When the car in question stopped, a male passenger from it immediately exited and ran from police, Draper said.

Officer Joe Frentz and members of the New York State Police then responded to the scene, “pursuing the suspect into a wooded area on the east side of Water Works south of Maple Ridge Road,” Draper said.

With the wooded area being so dense, the Medina K-9 was called in to help.

“The State Police established a perimeter, while we tracked the suspect,” Draper said. After a roughly 100-yard search, Draper said he and Frentz watched Kye pull toward one direction and start barking at a very thick brush area.

“We were going down a path and we couldn’t see through the denseness,” Draper said. “But Kye was so aggressive with his barking to indicate the suspect was there. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t see the suspect, either.”

Draper said he and Frentz told whoever was hiding in the brush to give themselves up, and the suspect then ran out the other side where he was immediately apprehended by Frentz.

“It was a really good hiding spot,” Draper noted. “We looked in and around that area and agreed that we would have walked right by him if not for Kye.”

The suspect was turned over to border patrol, as he has been deported twice before. His name was not released. Draper said border patrol will be charging the suspect this time instead of simply deporting him as this was his third time gaining illegal entry into the country.

Draper said other officers at the scene were impressed by Kye’s nose.

“We were less than 10 feet away from him and couldn’t see him, but he couldn’t fool Kye’s nose,” Draper said. “It was a good spot, but it wasn’t good enough.”

Draper said Kye has done multiple tracks with great efficiency. In many cases, Kye’s presence tends to lead to a suspect being flushed out and caught by a law enforcement officer at an established perimeter. What made Sunday’s incident unique, Draper said, was that “without the dog, we would have had a zero percent chance of finding the guy.”

Medina Police Chief Jose Avila said the incident proved how valuable the K-9 Unit is to the department.

“I’ve seen Kye in action and I’ve been very impressed so far,” Avila said. “He’s working out very well and is a very valuable asset for us.”

Avila recognized Draper for his work in establishing the K-9 Unit, and he said the continuous work and training Draper and Kye go through is paying off.

“I’m sure they will get the job done whenever they are called upon,” Avila said.

The chief also expressed his thanks to the Medina Business Association for its financial aid given to the K-9 Unit and the Medina Village Board for its support.

“This unit would not be here without them,” Avila said.