The following article appeared on:
The Journal (www.CortezJournal.com) on May 13, 2015.
The National Police Dog Foundation assisted the Cortez Police Department of Colorado to purchase Dusty.
A nose for trouble
Officer and police dog net suspect, save woman in less than 24 hours.
By Jessica Gonzalez
Cortez police officer Frank Kobel and his K9 partner Dusty had a busy start to the weekend of April 17, capped off with two back-to-back successful recoveries – one involving a suspect and the other, a woman who could have drowned if the two hadn’t chanced upon her.
On Friday, April 17 at 6:48 p.m. Kobel, Dusty and two other CPD officers were in pursuit of two individuals that had set a fire near a school bus garage. While en route, one of the other officers saw a suspect enter the construction area of the new Montezuma-Cortez High School. The four split off, with two officers taking the north side and Kobel and Dusty taking the south side of the school.
Kobel and Dusty made their way to the second floor, without finding much, until Dusty alerted Kobel to a human scent in an adjacent room.
“His scent (suspect’s) was going up and into the wall,” said Kobel. “When Dusty located him, he was in a room behind a large stack of boxes. He was crouched down and was wearing a tan shirt, so even when he was visible he blended in with the boxes so well I could have missed him, but Dusty could smell him.”
Much later in Kobel and Dusty’s shift, the K9 officer’s nose also saved the life of a woman during the early morning hours of April 18.
The two were on an article search behind a building on North Park Street, sweeping the area for clothing evidence connected to a sex assault case. As the pair approached the end of the building, Dusty began to pull Kobel toward a drainage ditch. A steady spring snow had been falling, and Kobel didn’t see much in the concrete ditch aside from 6 inches of water and snow melt pouring from the culvert.
But Dusty saw and smelled more.
He led his partner to was an unconscious woman, lying in the water at the culvert’s opening. Water was running across her body, and snow was piled up on top of her.
“Where she was, you couldn’t even see her,” said Kobel. “He pulled me to her.”
Kobel saw she was breathing and he was able to get her torso out of the water and call for medics.
The woman’s core body temperature at the emergency room was 72 degrees and dropping.
She ended up in the intensive care unit for a week, but could have drowned had the two officers not been in the right place at the right time.
While the weekend of April 17 seems busy from a civilian perspective, Kobel say the two manage to stay very busy working cases in Cortez.
Since July 2009, Dusty and Kobel have trained 1,634 hours, and Kobel has deployed Dusty 477 times. The almost 9-year-old German shepherd, who responds to commands only in German, has 83 arrests under his belt — or collar — including 49 felonies.
In a recent training exercise the learning curve for K-9s has been reduced by 20%, allowing for faster and more training of the K-9s.
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