Police dog proves his worth during domestic disturbance
by Kristen Rojowski
FOR SOME DOGS, being a best friend is a full-time job, but for Bosco of the Tampa Police Department, being the loyal pet to Officer Jason Tkach is just a small part of his duties.
Bosco, a German shepherd, is one of 20 dogs in the department's K-9 unit and is trained to help locate and subdue criminals, and sniff out illegal substances.
In his four years on the job, he's proven to be a valuable asset.Tkach knows that whatever the situation brings, his partner will do his duty. Few situations proved that more than a domestic disturbance call last spring.
Here's an estimate of what Bosco has recovered:
• Close to 100 pounds of marijuana
• 7 to 10 kilograms of cocaine - one bust alone was two kilos
• 3 to 5 kilograms of crack cocaine
• Numerous felony amounts of crystal methamphetamine
• $250,000 in currency
Tkach and Bosco arrived to find a woman who had been punched so hard her teeth were lodged in her boyfriend's fist. The boyfriend had fled, but Bosco found him under a nearby crawl space and went after him. "I heard Bosco yelp out in pain," Tkach says. The man was trying to fight Bosco. That's when Tkach knew he could safely approach. "He was too busy trying to control the dog," Tkach says. "Even if he had a weapon, he couldn't have gotten to it."
But the fight wasn't over yet. The suspect acted like he was giving up, then attacked Tkach. Bosco, true to his training, lunged at the suspect's throat and Tkach completed the arrest.
He says most suspects give up when police dogs arrive. "A lot of people are afraid of dogs, and especially afraid of being bitten by one," Tkach says. He recalls one time when Bosco cornered a suspect. Officers drew their weapons, but the suspect was more worried about Bosco. "He said, 'You can shoot me, but don't let that dog bite me'," Tkach says.
"I always knew I wanted to be on the K-9 unit, so when I was shopping for a house I made sure to look for adequate space," Tkach says. Police call dogs like Bosco a "force multiplier." They can do the job of several officers and in less time. Their senses of smell and hearing are particularly useful at night. "A lot of times the bad guy sees you coming before you see him," Tkach says. "Having a K-9 gives you control of the situation."
Bosco cost $6,500 in 2005, but in one of his first narcotics busts he helped recover $25,000 hidden in the trunk of a car.
"He's by far the best partner I've ever had," Tkach says. "Under my command, he'd take his last breath to protect me or any other citizen. I've seen him run into gunfire to protect."
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