AND THE SEARCH CONTINUES
So, I go methodically up to each car park, firearm drawn peering around each car park bay, under each car, looking, finger on the trigger, ready to fire….let me tell you…I’m ready to shoot.
I even went through every refuse area, anywhere that we thought someone could be hiding.
Now, can I say, this was one, if not the most adrenalin rushed situation I have ever been in my whole life. I was literally ready to engage in a shootout. The thing is, when you are in this situation, the fight or flight instinct kicks in. You train for certain situations…but not this…this is instinct….
Needless to say, we cleared this area…and Fang had to re-engage the dog again. He tried to pick the scent up.
STAY IN TOUCH
Also, I had a police radio, so I was staying in touch with police communications, and letting them know of our progress. Unbeknown-st to us, literally every police officer in Townsville had been called out to try and contain the area we were trying to locate the offender. Every operational police officer as well as those off duty were called out so we could create a cordon to contain the offender. I made the contact very limited, so as not to project our presence in case of giving off our location.
The search continued with the dog locating…losing and relocating the scent. We found ourselves going though suburban yards at 1am in the morning. The whole time, every instance we came to an area where we thought the offender might be, around a corner, under a car, in a shed, in a garden bed…Fang would stop the dog, I would go forward with the firearm and clear that area, ready to engage.
WHO ARE WE CHASING?
We had a basic description of the offender..he was dressed in black…so anyone in black was a suspect. We came over another fence and we came to the side of a house, then from the side of the house comes a male…dressed in black….I CHARGE HIM WITH MY GUN IN UP AT HIS HEAD…ON THE GROUND….ON THE GROUND..ON THE GROUND…I am screaming…he screams back in fear, arms flayed in the air, I charge him firearm armed at him charging him……I LIVE HERE, THIS IS MY PLACE…….he yells….
GET BACK IN YOUR HOUSE, we have just given ourselves away….my god, I thought it was the offender, my hands are shaking. Fang, the dog and I regroup. Ok, let’s keep going.
He begins to recast the dog, let’s see if we can pick up the scent again.
You see, the dog is following something we can’t see, we are only relying on his body language, and there are factors like surface scent, airborne scent we have to take into account. Sometimes the police dog will overshoot a scent picture and we have to come back and recast the dog and try to pick up the original strong scent. This is a process of patience and elimination.
At this stage, we have been searching for over an hour. Imagine being amped up for that long. During that time, we would sit in the dark and rest the dog, I would communicate with police communications and give them our exact location, whispering so they could co-ordinate road cordons.
We begin again, searching for the scent…BANG….WE ARE ON IT….the dog goes off flying over 2 suburban fences and peel right down the side of a house.
AND THE FINALE…..
I remember looking up and seeing under the street light…a police officer standing beside his police car at the front the house we were running down. I think he was more surprised to hear us…because he pulled his gun out on us…..on the noise we made coming down the side of the house…then the dog, in front of us launches himself into a bush on the side of the house…literally 10 metres from the lone police officer standing by himself by his car.
The police dog ‘rat’ as we called him, as he was this tiny little german shepherd, but my god, what a police dog he was, launched himself into this bush and began attacking. The offender was laying in this bush with his shotgun, and the police dog just went nuts. Fang, the police officer standing on the corner and myself launched ourselves into this bush with dog and we dragged him out….with a fully loaded shotgun.
What a 1 hour and 2o minutes……………………..
We contained the offender. The criminal investigation branch came and took him away. We stood on the side of the road as he was taken away. The inspector in charge came and debriefed us and advised us, there was an operational debrief at the police station that we all needed to attend to advise of the situation of all involved.
IT’S ALL OVER
As I mentioned earlier, literally every single police operational police officer, on duty and off was attempted to be called out to create an outer cordon to contain this offender due to the fact that he had shot 2 police officers. We were unaware at this at the time, we simply ran off into the dark and tried to catch him.
Fang and I eventually got into Townsville Police Headquarters at about 4am. We walked up the stairs to the district muster room and walked into a room full of police officers, a number I have never seen before…and when we walked in….we received a standing ovation……
Let me say….any commendation…any medal….any bravery award….does not compare to the recognition that you get from your mates on the ground that overtly acknowledge the effort you put…..nothing…
That is a night I will never forget…I can remember it like it was yesterday…not because of what we did….but because of the brotherhood and sisterhood I experienced that night.
Glen was a Police Dog Handler with the Queensland Police Service for 14 years. During that time, he handled 4 police dogs and was also the Australian New Zealand Police Dog Champion Team. He has trained his dogs in tracking, manwork, drug detection, location of people and property and cadaver or human remains detection.