Kent police recruit shows tracking skills

(Original publication: July 23, 2002)

KENT In just his second tour of duty, the newest member of the Kent Police Department proved his worth Sunday, tracking a would-be thief through 3 miles of thick woods before helping to capture him. Justice, a 2-year-old German shepherd from Slovakia, and his handler, Officer Thomas Carroll, were called to a Miller Hill Road residence about 6:15 a.m. Sunday after a homeowner interrupted a man who was trying to break into his car, police said.

The homeowner reported that the man fled into the woods. Carroll and Justice were sent to the residence and began tracking the man. They tracked him for 3 miles, locating him near Farmers Mills Road and Route 301. Carroll, a nine-year Kent police veteran, ordered the man to stop. He ignored Carroll and retreated into the woods, but was captured a short time later, police said.

Police charged the man, a 20-year-old Hopewell Junction resident, with attempted larceny, a misdemeanor, and trespass, a violation. He is scheduled to appear later this month in Kent Town Court.

It was the second time in recent weeks that Carroll and Justice have been called to help track a suspect. On June 27 the day Justice graduated from a 17-week training course at the Yonkers Police Canine Unit Rafael Jiminez shot and killed Jens Runge at a residence on Old Forge Drive. Jiminez then fled into the woods, armed with a shotgun. Carroll and Justice tracked Jiminez and were closing in on him, about 150 yards away, when Jiminez took his own life with the same shotgun he used to kill Runge, police said. Lt. Alex DiVernieri said Justice is working out just as police had envisioned helping find people who get lost or, in Sunday's case, choose to flee into Kent's many miles of rolling, wooded hills.

"Justice is doing exactly what we thought he could do," DiVernieri said yesterday.

Kent police were able to acquire Justice at no cost to town taxpayers. A local resident donated $2,900 to buy the dog, a local veterinarian offered his services at no cost, a local pet store is providing free food, and about 20 other merchants donated thousands of dollars for the dog's upkeep.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2005