Patrolman Donald Sypolt
Patrolman Peter Chuberko
The Ross Township Police Department has had a full time, continuously operating Canine Division since 1995. The detail was started with two canine teams, K9 Officer James Fitch and his partner Sari, and K9 Officer William Barrett and his partner Enno. It did not take long for the department to realize the wide-ranging benefits of the police/working-dog team.
In 2003 and 2005 a second set of K9s started working. In 2003 K9 Airus was assigned to officer Matthew Grubb and in 2005 K9 Uvo was assigned to officer Peter Chuberko. K9 Airus was a Belgium Malinios and K9 Uvo was a German Shepherd. These two K9’s and their handlers served Ross Township until their retirement in 2014. Both K9’s went on to live out their days with their handler’s and their families.
In late 2014 K9 Cezar and K9 Neeko were purchased from Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, PA. Both, Cezar and Neeko, are German Shepherd and both are imported from Europe. K9 Cezar was assigned to Officer Peter Chuberko and K9 Neeko was assigned to Officer Donald Sypolt. Officer Grubb was promoted to Sergeant and remains an integral part of the K9 division as the department trainer. Both K9’s went through 9 weeks of basic training and are currently working alongside their partners since November of 2014. They continue to train and do so for four hours every week to maintain their levels of proficiency.
The dog teams are tested annually and are certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association. The certification includes the team being able to complete all of the tasks expected of them. This includes narcotics detection as well as handler protection, tracking human beings, as well as searching buildings to name a few.
The K9 Division helps the Ross Police Department perform their duties safer and faster than we would be able to do without the dog teams. The canines save the department hundreds of man-hours every year. The canines freely and willingly go into areas officers are not able to. The Ross Police Department relies on the canines to use their special abilities to help locate suspects, evidence, narcotics or missing people quickly.
On average, The K9 Division provides assistance in over 275 calls for service yearly. The majority of these calls were for drug sniffs of residences and vehicles. Both Airus and Uvo are trained to detect the odors of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The K9 Division is trained not only in narcotic detection, but offender tracking and apprehension, building searches, and evidence locating.
While the K-9 Division’s primary responsibilities are the safe apprehension of serious criminal offenders, the timely discovery of evidence, the protection of the public and officers, and the search for missing persons; they also serve as a link between the Ross Police Department and the community.
The use of the K9 Units in demonstrations, exhibitions, and special events opens lines of communication and understanding. The presence of the K-9 stimulates conversation and serves as a link between the officer and the community. There is also a significant psychological impact in the community - given the presence of a K-9 Unit. The perception of increased security is readily apparent during peripheral conversations during such demonstrations and special events.
Given the public perception and tangible link established by the K9, between the department and the community, Ross’s K9 Officers often participate in demonstrations, special events, and other exhibitions by the public. During these events, the K9 Officers use their dogs to educate the community on how K9’s are utilized by the police department and aid in open dialogue regarding K9 operations and community expectations.
Both Officer Chuberko and Officer Sypolt share a strong bond with their canine partners. Both handlers take their canine home. The canines are part of their families. Each handler is issued a canine car for emergency call outs and transportation of the canine.
Should you like any additional information regarding the K9 Division or would like to schedule a demonstration for your civic group, please contact the Ross Township Police Department at 412-931-9070.