Brave Dog: Opelika PD K9 Bane National Hero Dog Award Semi-Finalist | Crime News

JOHN WEST

Heroes can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they even run on all fours. Such is the case with Bane, one of the most determined officers in the Opelika Police Department.

Bane is part of the Opelika Police K9 unit, a Belgian Malinois who is said to have an eccentric personality and a rock-solid work ethic. He is also currently in the semi-finals of the 2022 American Humane Hero Dog Awards. He is one of three dogs from across the country competing for first place in the law enforcement and detection dog category. If he wins, American Humane will take Bane and his handler, Detective Jacob Taylor, to Palm Springs, Calif., for a star-studded awards gala.

Fans can vote for Bane at herodogawards.com until July 22.

“Basically, you are nominated by someone. Bane advanced to the first three semifinals,” Taylor said. “So basically he did a brave act, and others also thought it was brave. So they nominated me for the award. I didn’t expect to go this high in the contest, but that’s how it happened.

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The courageous act that led to the nomination began with a traffic stop on January 11 this year. The Opelika Police Department had pulled over a pickup truck and confirmed that the driver had two outstanding felony probation warrants through the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. However, the driver pulled over and attempted to flee, police said. He led police on a short chase that reached speeds of 90 miles per hour and barely avoided other motorists before he was wrecked and attempted to escape on foot, police say. Taylor says he then deployed Bane to apprehend the suspect. Within four seconds, he said, Bane had latched onto the man’s right arm and shot him down. After reviewing the chase video, law enforcement said they saw where the man pulled out a gun just before Bane grabbed him.

“About the time he moved to the right hand, Bane hit him in the right arm, we believe the gun flew a short distance from the suspect,” Taylor said. ‘During further investigation we heard him talking to others stating that he wished he could have entered the line of wood and was planning to shoot the officers.’

The pursuit involved numerous people, including narcotics officers and K9 units. Thanks to Bane’s speed and determination, the suspect was taken down before anyone could be harmed.

“He saved a lot of people,” Taylor said.

Bane joined Opelika’s PD for the first time in 2020. Although his former department managed to train him, they realized we weren’t suited for their region. Opelika Deputy Police Chief Kasey Brown saw the dog’s potential for detective work, however, and brought him on board.

“You don’t see dogs like Bane every day,” Brown said. “I mean he’s probably in the 1% of what we consider police dogs with the urges and the genetics he has.”

Bane was hard to control when he arrived at Opelika PD. While his training was apparent, his urges still needed to be better controlled. According to Brown, Bane just needed two things: a job and direction. He paired Bane with Taylor early in the training process and the connection between the two was immediate.

“We brought him in here and put him on a strict routine, and then you see them both start learning together,” Brown said of Bane and Taylor. “So it was a unique thing to see them grow up together. But Bane is a completely different dog now than he was when we got him.

Taylor has worked with the Opelika K9 unit since 2017. He said he has always had a passion for dogs and confirmed the bond he shares with his canine partner.

“We both have our quirks,” he said. “I don’t know if he knew I was a little crazy and he’s a little crazy. We just teamed up and made a good pair. But it’s definitely a real bond.

Since Bane joined the department, he and Taylor have made over 20 arrests. Some were bite apprehensions, some were not. Taylor said he tracked nearly 16 people and seized tons of drugs off the streets.

“We kind of understand each other,” he said of his relationship with Bane. “I know that’s probably hard for someone who’s not a dog handler or whatever to understand. But we understand each other. I catch him and he catches me. We both have our days here and there, but you know, we’re both here for each other and he would die for anyone here.

Voting for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards is currently underway. The second round of voting will end on July 22. The third round will run from August 5 to September 13. Votes can be cast once per day in each of the seven categories. Categories include law enforcement and detection dogs, assistance dogs, therapy dogs, military dogs, guide/listening dogs, search and rescue dogs and shelter dogs . Votes can be cast at herodogawards.org.

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