Taneytown's Police Department adds 4-legged officer from Czech Republic


March 09, 2000|By Jean Marie Beall | Jean Marie Beall,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TANEYTOWN POLICE Department has a new member, a native of the Czech Republic who goes by the name Boris.

His hair is longer than regulation length, and he has more of it than anyone on the force. But no one is complaining. Boris is the force's new canine.

"He likes kids and any kind of attention he can get," said Officer Dustin Black, Boris' handler.

Black said Boris is from a kennel in St. Mary's County. About the time that Black joined the force in May, the department's previous canine was 9 years old and ready to retire, said Lt. Greg Woefel. His handler also retired.

Black said the force picked Boris over several others at the kennel and brought him to Taneytown in August.

"I put in to work with the dog," he said. "I started training him in September."

The 12-week training is conducted at the police dog training center in Baltimore County.

"They start you with basic obedience," Black said. "The first couple of days you just walk around with the dog on a leash."

The training progresses to biting on command, searches and controlled dangerous substance work.

Boris graduated from training in December and is qualified as a patrol dog, which not all canines are. "He's cross-trained as a patrol dog," Black said. "He does tracking work, building searches and bite work. But if a guy gives up, then we're not going to let the dog bite him."

Boris has done two building searches in Taneytown.

"You never send an officer into the building because you put the officer's life on the line," Black said. "So you call in a dog. If we search a building, we have to give a canine warning. What I say is, `Police canine, come out.' If anyone is in, they can give up. If they don't, we cut the dog loose."

Black said he and Boris continue to work at the training center twice monthly.

"This dog is really good," said Taneytown Chief Mel Diggs. "He won't do anything unless on command."

The 63-pound dog has a badge and consumes 40 pounds of dry food each month, Black said. No table scraps.

While Boris is from the Czech Republic, Black is a native of Montana. He moved to Taneytown because of fellow officer Bill Tyler, who had been his football coach in high school in Montana. Tyler returned to Taneytown, and Black kept in touch with him.

"I always knew I wanted to go into police work," Black said. "There were more opportunities here. You probably have more police officers in Baltimore City than all of Montana."

Spring Fling

Elmer A. Wolfe Elementary School in Union Bridge will hold its annual Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25.

"The PTO will be hosting several games and activities for children, including face-painting, crafts, hair-painting and a book swap," said parent Elaine Wilkins, who is helping to coordinate the event. "New this year will be performances by a select group of fifth-graders singing and third-graders performing on their recorders."

Maryland State Police will offer free child fingerprinting and presentations for the children. Carroll County Public Library will hold story times. An auction will be held at 11 a.m.

The event is free. Shuttle bus service will leave Myers IGA on Route 75 and Wheatfield Trucking Co. at 45 N. Main St.

Information: 410-876-1666.

Blood drive

New Windsor Community Blood Drive is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 23 at New Windsor Fire Hall.

"This drive is being sponsored by the New Windsor Lions Club," said Don Bartgis, who is coordinating the drive. "The Lions Club has two blood drives each year."

Information: 301-663-3105.

Jean Marie Beall's Northwest neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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