Friday, May 25, 2018
Public safety

New dog set to begin training with Hernando County Sheriff's Office

BROOKSVILLE

Topper, a 19-month-old German shepherd new to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, looked out from a patrol car that still bears a sticker of the face of Ike.

In late May, Ike — about 4 1/2 years old at the time — died of an intestinal complication common to the German shepherds. His partner, Deputy Brandon Cox, was heartbroken.

"I told my boss, 'Just get me another dog. I can't stand being without one,' " Cox said. "I didn't really grieve, though, until Topper came along. He's helping me mourn."

Topper was brought to Florida from the Netherlands earlier this month, said Cpl. Stephen Miller, head of the sheriff's Canine Unit. The dog cost $8,500 and the funding was donated to the Sheriff's Office by an anonymous county resident. Topper will begin a formal 17-week training course in August or September.

It's an education process that Cox remembers well from his time with Ike. The police dogs and deputies practice clearing out buildings and holding people with a bite.

As is standard practice, the four police dogs at the Hernando Sheriff's Office are all unneutered males that are socialized only with their partners and their partners' families. That way, the dogs don't become so friendly that they won't throw down criminals.

Kilo, Miller's partner, is the oldest member of the unit, at 8 years old, followed by Dzel (pronounced "Diesel"), age 3; Topper; and a 16-month-old named Valor.

As Topper learns to bite and bonds with Cox and his family, he also rides in the back of Cox's patrol car. After the 17-week course and an additional few months of schooling in the detection of narcotics, Topper will be ready to work the streets.

During "bite work," when Cox commands Topper to run and chomp down on the jute arm-sleeve worn by whichever deputy volunteers, Cox misses Ike the most, he said.

"I could whisper commands from across the room and he knew," the deputy said.

Already this week, though, Topper seemed to be learning quickly. He stood poised, straining at his leash and shaking with desire, snapping his jaws again and again.

At Cox's signal, he surged, and in a flash was biting the sleeve on Miller.

"Good boy," Cox said.

Comments
Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

Police: Driver in fatal Bayshore faces new charge in child’s death

The 18-year-old who was arrested this week after police said he was racing when he fatally struck a young mother pushing her stroller across Bayshore Boulevard was back in jail on Friday night.Cameron Herrin, 18, was arrested on a second count of veh...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Raccoon bites bicyclist, now the Health Department is looking for the victim

TAMPA — A bicyclist in the Palm River area was bitten by a raccoon Friday morning, the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County said.Now the department is concerned the animal had rabies and is searching for the bicyclist."While it is impo...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Police: Baby not abandoned; mother surrendered infant

TAMPA — A newborn baby initially thought to be found on the ground near a trash can in north Tampa was not abandoned, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.The child’s mother gave birth to the boy Thursday, and she and someone else too...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

Student says science teacher tackled Indiana school shooter

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A male student opened fire at a suburban Indianapolis middle school Friday morning, wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said. Seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker said the science teache...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Woman, dog die trying to cross U.S. 19 in Hudson

PORT RICHEY— An unidentified 45-year-old Colorado woman and her dog died early Friday morning when they walked into the path of two vehicles on U.S. 19, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The woman was walking her dog around 5:40 a.m. across U.S...
Published: 05/25/18
A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

A ‘coupon conundrum’ at a Largo Burger King landed him in jail

LARGO— A flap over coupons led a Clearwater man to grab a Burger King employee and yank her over the counter, leading to his arrest, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Miguel Latorre, 23, was trying to use several coupons to buy a Whop...
Published: 05/25/18
New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

New signs indicate reduced Bayshore Boulevard speed limit after racing deaths

TAMPA — Two days after a mother and daughter were struck by a speeding car Bayshore Boulevard, killing both, city officials on Friday began implementing changes aimed at ensuring safety along the busy roadway.On Friday morning, workers began installi...
Published: 05/25/18
He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

He is accused in 13 Gulfport vehicle burglaries. An ankle bracelet tipped police off.

GULFPORT — An 18-year-old man, wearing an ankle bracelet, was arrested Thursday after he was accused of breaking into 13 cars in a one-block radius over the last week.Benjamin Langkamp Jr. faces 13 charges of vehicle burglary — each of which occurred...
Published: 05/25/18
Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

Warrant issued for Tampa suspect in January slaying

TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies have identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of a man in January.Deputies are searching for 23-year-old Javon Rakeem Turner, who is wanted in the death of 22-year-old Elijah Moore on Jan. 17.According to depu...
Published: 05/25/18