A dog’s day: Police canine helps nab suspects

A Gresham police dog earned his biscuits this week with two arrests in one shift.
Just before midnight Tuesday, June 23, police dog Blitz and his human partner, Officer Shawn Debler, responded to a report of an incomplete 911 call in the area of the 19800 block of Northeast Hassalo Court.
While en route, Debler learned the call was regarding a 17-year-old Gresham boy who’d reportedly punched his father in the face and ran from the scene, said Sgt. Mike LeDuc, Gresham police spokesman.
Blitz tracked the boy’s scent to his hiding place between a fence and a chimney in the back yard of a nearby house. The boy was transported to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detection Center in Northeast Portland on accusations of fourth-degree assault and interfering with making a police report.
Then at 3:16 a.m. Wednesday, June 24, the duo tracked an allegedly drunken driver who crashed a Ford Explorer into a house at 725 S.E. 207th Ave. south of Stark Street in Gresham.
The driver ran from the scene, leaving his passenger behind. Blitz tracked the driver’s scent for more than four blocks, finding him hiding in a backyard in the 900 block of Southeast 205th Avenue.
Victor Torres, 20, a transient, was transported to the Multnomah County Justice Center and booked on charges of hit-and-run causing property damage, reckless driving, second-degree criminal mischief and driving under the influence of intoxicants.
Capt. Tim Gerkman said the two incidents are good examples of the value of canine officers.
Using police service dogs to search for dangerous suspects greatly reduces the likelihood of serious injury to homeowners or police officers, Gerkman said.
“Plus, police dogs also maximize our resources by searching for suspects in a fraction of the time it would take a squad of officers, which equates into tens of thousands in savings each year for the police department,” he added.

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