On Monday, April 15th, 2013, an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease walked away from his residence at a senior living facility in the area of Isabel and Harvard. The male’s wife woke up from a nap to find her husband missing. The police responded to the facility and with the aid of security cameras, the officers were able to determine exactly which door and at what time the male left. Already four hours after the male left, the chance of tracking his scent was quickly diminishing. Factors such as ultra violet sun rays, wind, and passing vehicle traffic can reduce and/or scatter the scent left behind by the lost male. With the sun setting and the onset of darkness quickly approaching, it was crucial to find the male before his safety was further jeopardized.
Officer Sholtis with his K-9 partner, Idol, arrived at the scene. Personal items were collected from the male’s room, which contained his scent. The scent articles were presented to Idol near the door where the male was last seen exiting the building. Even though Idol just recently graduated from his three-week Hard Surface Tracking class, he worked the scent like a seasoned professional. With his nose to the ground, Idol followed the little bit of scent that was still present. Idol tracked the male for four-tenths of a mile, through alleys, down sidewalks, even crossing major intersections. Sniffing 7-8 times each second, tracking is physically demanding for dogs, especially young ones like Idol. Even though his nose was still working, Idol was exhausted and unable to continue the track. However, based on the direction that Idol led Officer Sholtis, critical information about the male’s most probable direction of travel was communicated with other patrol officers in the area. Within ten minutes of continued searching, an officer located the lost male just four blocks away, along the same sidewalk and in the same direction that Idol was tracking towards. The male was safely returned to his residence, much to the delight of his family.
On Sunday, April 14th, 2013, a vehicle burglary suspect was being detained by patrol officers in the area of Rosedale and Glenoaks. The suspect had been seen in several different yards and garages and police had been searching for him for several hours. When the male was eventually caught, he was wearing different clothing from what he was described as wearing by a witness two blocks away. This led officers to believe that the suspect, thinking he was about to be captured, purposely changed his clothing in order to avoid being recognized. Although one witness positively identified the suspect even though he was wearing different clothing, officers knew that finding the male’s hidden clothing would help their case against the suspect in court. Furthermore, finding the hidden clothing may also lead officers in recovering additional evidence, such as stolen items, that he abandoned along the way.
Officer Sholtis and his K-9 partner, Idol, responded to the location where a witness observed the suspect in a neighbor’s driveway before running off. Even though it had been over an hour since the suspect ran from the driveway, K-9 Idol was still able to pick up on his “fear” scent. Idol tracked the suspect’s path across the street, down a sidewalk, through a large parking lot, through an open gate, and into a backyard of a duplex property. Idol pulled towards a secluded area of the yard which was surrounded by overgrown bushes. Idol came across a black cell phone, where he laid down with the item between his front paws, which is his alert to finding an article containing fresh human odor. Next to the cell phone were a black hat, a black visor, and a khaki pair of pants. The clothing that Idol located matched the prior descriptions of what the suspect was wearing on earlier burglary attempts. It was obvious that the items were stashed by the suspect in this secluded area in order to change his appearance and avoid capture. The cell phone may have either been a stolen item or the suspect’s personal cell phone that may have contained information that would incriminate him if located by police.
Without finding these key pieces of evidence, the case against this burglary suspect may not have been as strong. Locating the clothing that he was seen wearing at the scene of several burglaries further tied the suspect to those crimes. This was a job well done by Glendale’s newest K-9 rookie, Idol.
The Glendale Police Foundation, the Glendale K-9 Unit, the City of Glendale, Community Services and Parks presented a family-oriented, dog-friendly and fun-filled event, Glendale K-9s in the Park. This event featured entertainment, a pet adoption fair, pet costume and speed contests, delicious food, plus FREE bouncers, balloon animals, and face-painting for the kids. It also featured LIVE police K-9 demonstrations and a chance to meet and take a photos with favorite Glendale K-9 team.
Ofc. Feeley and K9 Yudy's services were once again called upon to help search a house for hidden illegal drugs. Yudy entered the residence, and immediately went to work. Her nose quickly picked up a familiar smell, and she ran around trying to pinpoint the source of the odor. She ran through the house, until she figured out it was coming from one of the bedrooms. She went into the bedroom, and stuck her head into a large pile of dirty laundry. She used her nose to push some of the clothes out the way, trying to get deeper into the pile. After a short time, Yudy came out with a look that said: "I found it", and quickly sat-indicating to Ofc. Feeley she had located illegal drugs. A search of the dirty clothes revealed a back pack at the bottom of the pile. Inside the backpack, was approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine, already separated into one pound packages.
Not only did Yudy alert the officers to the backpack, but she alerted Ofc. Feeley to several other areas in the bedroom where more methamphetamine was located. There were also several handguns, a rifle, and a large amount of ammunition seized from the same residence.
Good job Yudy!
On Saturday, August 4th, 2012, officers responded to the La Crescenta area regarding a drunk male who made statements to his girlfriend that he wanted to kill himself. He told her that he was going to jump in front of moving vehicles then ran from the residence. Several officers checked the surrounding area, including a police helicopter, but were unable to locate the despondent male. Due to the nature of the call, the risk of physical harm to the male as well as innocent motorists, as well as the abundance of resources that were being deployed in searching for the male, it was critical that the male be found as quickly as possible.
K-9 Isy responded to the scene. Her handler, Officer Sholtis, obtained a scent article from within the male’s residence and presented it to Isy. With one whiff of the article, Isy went to work and followed the scent south through the property. Isy continued to lead the team of officers for one and a half blocks until suddenly one of the officers yelled, “There he is!” The suicidal male was standing on the sidewalk approximately 2 properties away from where the team was walking. The male was shirtless and appeared dirty as though he was lying in the street. He was detained by police and placed on a hold pending a mental evaluation. Thanks to Isy, his life and potentially the lives of unsuspecting motorists were saved. Way to go, Isy!
On Friday, August 3rd, 2012, the US Marshals had information that an escapee from a Louisiana State Penitentiary in January 2011 was inside of a Pasadena residence. The Marshals surrounded the house and instructed all the occupants to exit. The owners of the property stated that a man that they hired to do repair work was hiding in the residence. Several opportunities were given for the fugitive to surrender, but he would not comply. K-9 Isy, along with her handler, Officer Sholtis, responded to the scene. Together with the Marshals, K-9 Isy led the search team throughout the house. She alerted to a rear bedroom, where the fugitive hid from officers. Thanks to Isy’s alert, the Marshals were confident about the whereabouts of the hidden suspect and were able to take the fugitive safely into custody.
Glendale officers had recently been on the lookout for individuals breaking into people's homes in the middle of the day, ransacking the location, and stealing what they could, until one day...
Officers patrolling the heavy hit areas noticed several males run out of a house carrying something, get into a car, and speed away. When the officers tried to pull the car over the driver refused to stop. A small pursuit began, ultimately ending with the driver of the suspect vehicle turning down a dead end road. The suspect vehicle came to a stop, and all four bad guys got out running away from the officers. The officers were able to quickly surround the neighborhood, and call for the K-9s to help sniff out where the bad guys might be hiding.
That's where K9 Yudy and K9 Branko come in! A small neighborhood was placed on "lock-down", and K9 Yudy and K9 Branko were more than ready to begin their extensive search for the bad guys. Branko, and his partner, Ofc. Rolando took one street, K9 Yudy and her partner, Ofc. Feeley took another street, and off they went. Soon after the search started, K9 Branko indicated he smelled bad guys in a garage. Ofc. Rolando and several other officers began searching the garage (which was not an easy task since the garage was used for storage, and filled with boxes). Branko kept insisting the bad guys were in the garage. Thanks to Branko, the officers were able to find three of the four bad guys hiding in between numerous boxes in the garage. The bad guys saw Branko, and realized the game was over. They decided to quickly give-up. Three down, one to go.
K9 Yudy was also hot on the bad guy's tracks. She came to a garage, and began indicating there was a bad guy inside the garage. Ofc. Feeley was a bit surprised, because the garage was stacked full of storage boxes and other items, and wasn't sure how a person could be hiding in there. Yudy kept insisting someone was inside the garage. Ofc. Feeley and several other officers began to move boxes out of the garage, with Yudy watching every move. The closer the officers got to the back of the garage, the more excited Yudy got, as if to say, "keep going guys, you almost have him." Suddenly, Yudy jumped in front of the officers, and began barking at a small opening between all the boxes in the corner of the garage. Ofc. Feeley took a closer look, and couldn't believe her eyes! She saw a portion of a hand (which she realized was connected to the bad guy) just beyond the boxes. Ofc. Feeley began yelling for the person to come out, but instead the person began retreating back, as if to hide, or try and get away!! Ofc. Feeley sent Yudy into the small opening and K9 Yudy helped get the bad guy out. Thanks to K9 Branko and K9 Yudy, all the bad guys were safely located!
For law enforcement, sniffing out crime is a much easier task with the help of four-legged friends. We followed four working police dogs as they showed off their skills for finding hidden drugs, detecting explosives and detaining suspects.
Producer / Camera / Editor - Alaena Hostetter
About Impact: Impact is an award-winning television news magazine produced by journalism students at the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
Following last year’s retirement of two Glendale K-9s, Sam and Marlin, the Glendale Police K-9 Unit is back to full strength with the addition of two new teams. Officer Alex Rolando, an eight year veteran of the force, was chosen as Glendale’s newest K-9 handler. His partner, Branko, is a two-year old male German Shepherd from Germany. Officer Shawn Sholtis, who was the handler for K-9 Sam for six years, joined Rolando for a five week K-9 Patrol School in Ventura, CA. Sholtis’ new partner is a three-year old female German Shepherd named Isy. Both K-9 teams successfully completed the basic K-9 school on February 17th, 2012. The school included obedience, protection work, tracking, building and area searches for hidden suspects, and evidence searches. Also graduating from that class were four other K-9 teams from other agencies in California.
Both of Glendale’s newest K-9 teams will return for additional training in approximately six months. The future training will be for scent detection work - narcotics for Branko and explosives for Isy. Officer Alex Rolando will also receive additional training in K-9 support for Search and Rescue. The new K-9s, together with their senior colleagues, K-9 Yudy and K-9 Quwai, are on the streets and actively protecting the Glendale community.