Pine Ridge, SC (Paul Kirby) – Pine Ridge Police Department’s Interim Police Chief Vince Silano and his K-9 partner Rens recently assisted the South Congaree Police Department in locating a suspect that fled on foot from a traffic stop. The suspect may have made his escape if not for Ren’s ability to sniff the man out.
Chief Silano was patrolling Pine Ridge on the morning this occurred. He was backing up South Congaree Officer Young who had affected a routine traffic stop on Dreher Drive off Main Street close to the Dollar General store. Silano pulled in to provide backup and to check on Young’s safety. Young had informed Silano that something with the man and the vehicle he’d stopped just didn’t appear to be right. As Silano was pulling up, he noticed the driver reaching toward the passenger side of the vehicle. When Silano exited his cruiser, the suspect jumped out and fled the stop on foot. This all happened very quickly.
Silano immediately deployed K-9 Rens by remote, a device that releases the cruiser’s door and K-9 enclosure if the handler is a distance away. Rens came charging out of his enclosure and Silano gave the command to apprehend the suspect based on a reasonable suspicion. This was established by Silano after witnessing the driver reaching across the car and then suddenly fleeing the scene on foot.
K-9 Rens chased the fleeing suspect for the length of a football field down the road. Eventually, both officers lost sight of the suspect and Rens as they ran into what appeared to be a driveway. As Silano and Young cautiously approached the area where the suspect and Rens turned out of sight, they saw two vehicles in the drive. There was also a 6-foot fence behind the vehicles. Silano called Rens back to him, and within seconds, Rens emerged from behind one of the vehicles and returned to Silano’s side.
Both officers began approaching the vehicle that Rens had been behind. There, they located the suspect who had fled lying underneath the vehicle. The suspect was taken into custody and placed under arrest.
The man told Silano that Rens had bitten him on the leg. Lexington County EMS was requested to evaluate his injuries. The suspect did have a bite mark on the rear of his right thigh.
The suspect told Silano that Rens chased him down and bit him, holding him until the two officers arrived. Rens only released his bite when he heard Silano call to him.
This is a textbook case of the handler and K-9 using their ongoing training to take a suspect into custody. It also displays the importance of the relationship between handler and K-9 working together as a team. Rens is trained to apprehend a suspect and hold that person until he is given the command to release. This technique left the suspect with minimal bite wounds but allowed the officers to get the suspect into custody without losing him during the foot pursuit.
Officers later learned the suspect was wanted out of Barnwell County. After being treated by Lexington County EMS, he was transported to Lexington County Detention Center on multiple charges.