There’s a new dog in town.
Chino, a 2-year-old German shepherd, joined Duncan Police Department’s canine corps in January.
Two weeks ago, he impressed law enforcement officials by finding a cache of money and drugs stashed inside a metal box during the execution of a search warrant.
What was impressive was that Chino was taken onto the premises only after the two-legged officers had concluded their search.
“So he found something the officers had missed,” said Master Officer Brian Attaway, who is Chino’s handler and partner.
It was a good sign that Chino just might be able to fill the big paw prints left by his predecessor, Lilo.
Lilo worked for DPD for 10 years; seven with officer Keith Stewart and then three years with Attaway, before being retired because of old age and health complications, which includes a heart murmur.
During his years of service to Duncan, Lilo won the title of Canine of the Year, awarded by the Southwest Association of Oklahoma Narcotics Enforcement while working with Stewart, and was nominated again for the award while working with Attaway.
“Lilo did so many good things,” said Attaway. “There’s no telling how many drug arrests he was responsible for.”
When it became obvious Lilo’s health was declining, Attaway began trying to raise funds for another dog, at a cost of close to $9,000.
He had been partly successful, he said, with a $500 donation from Chesapeake Oil and a $4,500 matching grant from the McCasland Foundation.
But he was able to tell the McCaslands to put the money to another good cause, because Chino literally fell into his lap when the Stephens County Humane Society called DPD to see if anyone wanted a fully-trained police dog.
Chino had been raised to be a police dog, and already trained in narcotics detection and aggression (officer protection). However, he was purchased by a family looking for a home security pet, and they gave him away when he just didn’t fit in.
“He was too active,” said Attaway. “The family just wanted him to lie around unless they needed him.”
Attaway and Chino bonded quickly, said the officer.
“They have to trust you like you trust them,” he explained.
Attaway had to learn to gauge Chino’s behaviors, his “tells” that he has found something as opposed to just playing around.
Within two weeks, Chino and Attaway had earned the dog’s state certification.
Chino’s training is continuing, and he’s learning to track and conduct building searches.
And he spends a day or two each month in additional training along with Duncan’s other two K-9 officers.
It reinforces his training in narcotics detection and tracking, and it also gives his human partner a workout.
“He’s young and fast,” said Attaway, “I think he’s training me as much as I’m training him.”
Attaway said he always wanted to have a canine partner.
“I’ve always liked animals, and even before I became a police officer, I told my wife this is what I wanted to do,” he said.
He said that before he got Lilo, he “volunteered” to assist with the training of the dogs already assigned to officers, and that’s how he got Lilo.
And he still has Lilo.
Both Lilo and Chino live with Attaway, along with another dog who is “just a pet.”
He said that along with their eight-hour shifts during the week, he also spends another couple of hours each day with the animals; making sure they have water and are fed, brushing, walking and playing with them.
It appears that the German shepherd born in Czechoslovakia and imported to the United States to be a police officer has now found a home.
There’s a new dog in town.