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METRO's K-9 Teams Win Top Awards
Thursday, February 05, 2009 5:30 PM  



Off. Ted Armstrong and his dog, MissyMETRO's K-9 dog teams captured top honors at a recent regional competition that showcased the dogs' drug and bomb-detecting abilities, along with their obedience skills.

For the first time since METRO started its K-9 unit in 1998, METRO won two first-place awards and the highest honor, The Top Dog Team Award. Sponsored by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDA), the competition last Friday pitted 70 dog teams from around the region, including Louisiana.

Officer Ted Armstrong and his dog Missy, a Belgium Malinois, captured three awards: First Place in Patrol, First Place in Explosives, and Top Dog Team Award. They are pictured on the left.

Officer Chris Obenland and his dog Shadow, a Belgium Malinois, won Third Place in Patrol.

"It just happened to be mine and Missy's day that day," said Armstrong.  "We just happened to be on. She was very quick, very fluid searching all the boxes and desk drawers. She was on the money."

A specialist in detecting explosives, Missy was off her leash when she and her handler walked into a large entertainment hall, cluttered with columns of boxes, suitcases, filing cabinets and desk drawers.  Metal-legged chairs were stacked up, newspapers scattered around.

"They hide explosives out there. They give you five minutes to find as many explosives as you can," said Armstong. If the dog makes a false alert, the dog team is disqualified.

"There's so much stuff. We as humans can't tell what the dog is picking up on. Dogs could be overwhelmed," said Armstrong.

Missy wasn't. She detected five explosives - and then performed flawlessly in the Patrol competition, which tests obedience skills, off leash.

Armstrong and Missy made history by winning two First Place awards - the first time in the contest's history that a team has done that. By scoring high in two categories, Armstrong and Missy also received a trophy for the Top Dog Team Award.

Obenland and his dog, Shadow, won Third Place in Patrol after completing a five-minute routine - off the leash - that included Shadow walking right next to his handler,Off. Chris Obenland & his dog, Shadow staying in a "down" position for two minutes, and apprehending a robbery suspect - along with a second, hidden suspect the team knew nothing about. Judges analyzed the handler's strategy in using his dog to help apprehend both suspects.

When a stray, black cat strutted by Shadow during the obedience competition, the well-trained canine didn't move a muscle.

"I just wanted to hug him and give him a pack of hot dogs. That was a very, very rewarding thing," said Obenland. "He normally likes to run after cats. It's natural for the dog to want to chase after them." Obenland and Shadow are pictured on the right.

Both Armstrong and Obenland pointed out that METRO's entire K-9 unit is highly trained and skilled, and officers are always trading tips on how to best train their dogs.

"Our whole dog team could have won," said Armstrong.

Added Obenland: "Our dogs are phenomenal. We constantly get compliments by the instructors about how sharp our dogs are and how good they are each year. They improve each year."







DominicMazoch said:

From what I understand, canines are considered "officers", right?

# February 5, 2009 6:47 PM

Cedric Collins said:


       You are absolutely CORRECT!  Canines are considered "officers"---even if somebody out there is not convinced otherwise.

# February 6, 2009 9:25 AM

John Ivey said:

Police K9's are considered "Officers" along with Horses.  So, if you injure one you can be charged for up to a year in jail.

# February 6, 2009 10:46 AM

Royko said:

MDP has the motorcycle division, the tactical (SWAT) group, the aquatic squad,and K-9's, ad nauseum.  Will Mr. Wilson get enough "Stimulas" pork money for METREAUX to buy a few helicopters along with enough taxpayer funds to squander on FIVE more wasteful urban rail lines?


# February 6, 2009 1:39 PM

Clue said:

Royko is absolutely right!  Why do we need all of these specialized forces?  Other cities manage to do without them somehow AND offer more in the way of transit options to more of their populace.  Metro's priorities are very warped!  

The only toys Metro should have are buses and trains.  These glam squads are feel-good redundancies which are also available via local law enforcement agencies.  Such redundancies are things that we just don't need and can ill-afford.

# February 6, 2009 9:53 PM

don said:

I agree with Royko on this one too. Yesterday I was waiting on a bus downtown and I saw a #3 West Gray nearing the bus stop. When it got nearer I noticed a 4" sign in the windshield with a #6. This is something that I see everyday.  A few days ago I was on a # 82 and passengers were trying to exit the rear door and it wouldn't open. The driver kept yelling at them that they had to exit the front door because the rear one was broken.  This is not only inconvenient but dangerous. Metro needs to get rid of the dogs, frogmen, and under the covers super agents and provide some decent transportation service. Put these cops back to patrolling the bus and train stops and spend some money to fix up these rattletrap buses.

# February 7, 2009 5:37 AM

DominicMazoch said:

I can actually see the dog part.  Somebody could place drugs or some sort of IED on a bus/tram, and it would be better to risk a dog than a human to find the object.

# February 7, 2009 6:30 AM

fop98 ghostrider said:

These K-9 Units DO patrol the bus and rail lines. They are a really good deterrent to the criminal element. With the area as big as METRO PD patrols, Local Law Enforcement cannot be counted on to have a dog available. There has been may times that having a dog on a scene has saved an officer from getting hurt.

MR ROYKO describes a lot of METRO riders in his posts, the one description he leaves out are the criminals. These K9  teams are dedicated to keeping the system safe, they are answering calls and patrolling the system. They could be up on a freeway working drug interdiction but they are NOT! They are keeping the riders that ROYKO speaks about safe.

# February 7, 2009 7:10 PM

Royko said:


Last month the rank-and-file were ordered daily to sit at each corner along the ill-devised, unsafe, and unreliable tram built at-grade, with no crossing arms, in order to try and ticket unaware drivers who made "illegal" turns.

How in Hell does that protect the unarmed "sheeple" riding the tram or the bus transit dependent riders throughout the service area?

# February 8, 2009 10:18 AM

SFPD K9 said:

Working doors and on time buses don't mean much if your getting robbed or assaulted everytime you ride. These units, especially the K-9 units work hard to make the commuters safe. Instead of being critical, take a second to thank one of the officers next time you see one. Showing appreciation doesn't cost you anything.


# February 8, 2009 5:54 PM

J. Liggins said:


We're not going to have ANY service changes for the winter/spring?  You all are obviously broke and it's foolish things like the SWAT team and Amphibious Force that kill your pocketbooks.  I'll give you the k-9 team, anything else is ridiculous and redundant.

I wish the Fed would pull your funding for those insipid rail lines and force you to use money for improvements in the long neglected bus service department.  Only when you can run a competent bus transit sytem should you be allowed to play with your toy trains.

# February 9, 2009 12:21 PM

Clue said:

SFPD K9 said: "Working doors and on time buses don't mean much if your getting robbed or assaulted everytime you ride. These units, especially the K-9 units work hard to make the commuters safe."

These units mean NOTHING if we can't reliably take a bus at all due to malfunctioning equipment, ridiculous routing, unreliable scheduling, overcrowding, untrained drivers, etc.  As it stands, relying on Metro and keeping one's job are oxymorons in far too many cases.

Until Metro actually has a quality product to protect, these specialty units are really nothing more than pricey feel-good, illusional "safety" toys.  

# February 9, 2009 1:11 PM

Cedric Collins said:

SFPD K9 said:  "Working doors and on time buses don't mean much if your getting robbed or assaulted everytime you ride. These units, especially the K-9 units work hard to make the commuters safe. Instead of being critical, take a second to thank one of the officers next time you see one. Showing appreciation doesn't cost you anything."

Excellent comment.  Well put!

# February 12, 2009 11:19 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Roykeaux said:  "How in Hell does that protect the unarmed "sheeple" riding the tram or the bus transit dependent riders throughout the service area?"

You absent-minded dope!  How in God's name do you know who's unarmed and who may have something on their person to protect them?  Are you trying to say that I---a bus and rail rider---have not one once of anything in my pockets to protect me---even if it may be illegal to carry?

fop98 ghostrider,

                You can probably repeat what you just said to Royko as many times as you want to but I can safely tell you that it's going to go in one ear and out the other.  On the flipside, I agree with your comment 100% and I do respect any K-9 unit from any law enforcement agency that's trying to protect peoples like me---and yes (unfortunately) even folks like Roykeaux.

# February 12, 2009 1:28 PM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

Please don't try and tell us you are a Ninja warrior armed with your razor-sharp Q-Card.

# February 12, 2009 8:27 PM

Cedric Collins said:


        How does what you just said constitute answering my question?  You're funny---no, you really are.  You can insult me all you want---thinking I'm some sort of "Ninja warrior"---but with the brain you have, you should start to learn how to respect any type of law enforcement unit---even if you think they're uesless.

Maybe I should just use my "razor-sharp" Q-Card on you.  I can probably win an award or something.

If you think K-9 units are a waste of time and money, then why don't you take the law into your own hands and see how risky the job is trying to protect yourself and others, huh?

# February 13, 2009 10:44 AM

Cedric Collins said:

Now that I hope to get that out of the way, BIG kudos to METRO's K-9 teams for winning the awards they deserve.  It just goes to show ya that K-9 units are just as highly needed as any other type of unit within any law enforcement agency---even transit and school district police departments.

# February 13, 2009 10:59 AM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

The ever-expansive MPD is no more necessary than the armed Harris County Appriasal District police department protecting the bureaucrats from the little old widows complaining they are being taxed out of their homesteads.

When will taxpayers vote out the politicians who just keep forcing us to pay for bloated bureaucracies?

These police functions could easily be handled by the HPD and the Harris County Sheriff except for the fact the bureaucrats maintain turf wars.

Is it not lunacy to have a bus operator being robbed and/or raped while on a route, yet the HPD are not allowed to help, and that the operator being victimized must wait for a MPD unit to be dispatched from downtown Houston to respond?

Who's the pea-brained, kool-aid swilling knuckle head that can find no wrong with METRAUX's policies?

I don't call 911.  Except for being forced to disarm when entering METREAUX BOD meetings, I shall continue to rely upon my skill operating a Second Amendment tool for self-defense.

# February 14, 2009 1:34 AM

Cedric Collins said:


        Do you have any idea what you're saying?  What does that have to do with K-9 units?!  As I say again, "If you think K-9 units (or any other type of special law enforcement unit that's currently out there) are a waste of time and money, then why don't you take the law into your own hands and see how risky the job is trying to protect yourself and others, huh?"

You---you don't call 911?  What if there was a life on the line?  Please don't tell us that what you may say will scare off any would-be (let's say) robbers.

F.Y.I. your "2nd Amendment tool" may not always help you get out of a very serious jam---especially if the "attackers" are miraculously smarter than you.

# February 17, 2009 10:49 AM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

You fail to grasp the essence of the point.

We spend a huge amount of money on HPD's K-9's as well as the County/Constable K-9 units.  The MPD is another layer of inefficient bureaucratic fat.  I can not make it any clearer than that.

# February 17, 2009 2:01 PM

Cedric Collins said:


       ...You're not making any sense other than trying to say that special units like K-9s from ANY law enforcement agency are a total waste of time and money.  Why can't you admit that in full?!

If you don't want to respect the fact that those units are highly needed, then that's your personal problem.  FIX IT!

How else are officers are going to find (for example) drugs that they can't easily detect and they have nothing else at their disposal?  Inquiring minds are dying to know.

I'm waiting................!

# February 17, 2009 3:09 PM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

Why are the METREAUX police using K-9's for drug intradiction on urban rail?

I thought they were acquired for detecting bombs and disrupting terroristic acts?

Again, some do not have a clue, yet praise METREAUX at every opportunity.

Stalin called such folks "useful idiots."

# February 18, 2009 7:13 PM

Cedric Collins said:


        Unless you're smoking on something that's really impairing your brain, why in God's name are you asking such a question for?  That's something that doesn't deserve an answer but I'm going to answer it anyway---just because.

You dang-blasted FOOL!  Do you have any friggin' idea that anybody can ride the buses/rails and put anything suspicious on there that'll attract too much attention?!  Do have any idea that dogs can detect things better than us humans?  You obviously don't have NO clue what K-9 units are used for.  Please look at this URL to learn all about the K-9 unit, what they're used for, etc.  On that note, I don't have time to explain things that a person such as yourself should already know.

# February 19, 2009 9:01 AM

Cedric Collins said:

# February 19, 2009 9:02 AM

Royko said:

Mr. CoLLins,

I merely pointed out that "Mission creep" is one of the problems taxpayers are confronted with when they have bureaucracies that have an uniterrruptable flow of taxpayer funds.

Next week or next month, one should not be surprised to learn METREAUX has acquired the dormant greyhound racing track in Galveston County, so as to properly exercise the K-9's.

Still waiting for Wilson to buy a few choppers also.

# February 20, 2009 10:08 AM

Cedric Collins said:


        Are you OK?!  I say---NOT!  What does METRO needing helicopters have to do with K-9 units?  I still say---you need to learn how to respect these kinds of units because one day, you'll thank them for their services to the communities they serve.

# February 23, 2009 8:43 PM
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