K9 Tributes – Police Week 2019 – Greg

Dates of Service: 2/15/2005 – 4/20/2010
End of Watch: 12/16/2016
Breed: Dutch Shepherd

Partner:  Ofc. Bart O’Shea

K9 Greg was the first working dog acquired by Capital K9s for the City of Madison Police Department.  Greg, who worked with Patrol Officer Bart O’Shea, is one of four dogs generously sponsored over the years by Mid-West Family Broadcasting.  Mid-West named Greg and the second K9, “Johnny” (who was featured in yesterday’s post), after disc jockeys Johnny Danger and Greg Bair, of the infamous “Johnny & Greg” morning show on their WJJO (94.1 FM) Solid Rock radio station.

After retiring in 2010, Greg became O’Shea’s wife’s running partner – because she liked to run early in the morning, while still dark, and appreciated the security of having a highly trained landshark at her side.  Greg also enjoyed lounging around the home with the family’s other dog. “He had a great personality, was always ready to work, and [was] equally willing to let 5-year- olds crawl all over him…  It was a delight to be his handler.”

Thank you to O’Shea for providing the following stories about Bart, who he often referred to as being on “The Smarter End of the Leash.” 

Passed out — or Not?

On a dark and not stormy night, our victim in this sad tale made some poor decisions…  He was a car salesman from Illinois delivering a Honda Odyssey minivan to a dealership in Madison.  He was staying overnight and made his first mistake by deciding to take in some entertainment at a local strip club.  He made his second mistake by making friends with a villain (our suspect) at that strip club.  He made his third mistake by going with our suspect to buy a little crack cocaine to enhance his evening. He made his final mistake by agreeing to give the suspect a ride home.

Greg comes into the story after the ride home turned out poorly.  The suspect pistol-whipped the victim  while he drove 60 miles per hour, drunk and high on crack. Eventually, the rolling carjacking ended at the intersection of Stoughton Road and the beltline, with our woeful victim left bleeding on the side of the road as the suspect drove away in the stolen minivan.

Shortly after stealing the van, the suspect was observed by a Monona Police Officer and dumped the van, opting to flee on foot. The Monona officer did not pursue based on information the suspect was armed and dangerous.

Greg and I arrive on location where the suspect was last seen. Greg began to track the suspect and was tracking along a short hedge row in front of an office building. He then turned sharply left and was engaged in the shrubs on something I could not see. I called Greg back to me. On looking under the bushes, I could see feet at one end and a hat at the other end. I then called out that we were the Madison Police and had a police K9.

The suspect then called back, “I’m passed out.” Realizing that this might not be true, I gave another warning that there was a police K9 and he would be released. When the suspect did not respond, I unhooked Greg from his tracking leash and sent him. Greg engaged the suspect and ended up dragging the male a distance of about 6 feet, by his shoulder, out into the parking lot – where he was taken into custody. The suspect’s gun was recovered along the path of his flight.

The Jump

Very early in Greg’s career, we were dispatched to check a tennis court area at Reynold’s Field Park to locate evidence relating to a sexual assault that occurred on the court.  This tennis court area is above a City of Madison water utility building and protected by a stone half-wall which stood about 15 feet off the ground.

Because it was early in the morning and the tennis court was empty,  I took Greg off of his leash to search  the area.  After we finished searching, I stood on the stairs and looked over the stone wall – down at the area below.  I then heard one of the other officers with us begin to yell, and to my horror, watched Greg sail over my shoulder.  I had not given any command to prompt the jump, but by looking over to the ground below I made Greg think he needed to search the area in the direction where I glanced, so in that direction he went.  He fell 15 feet, landing on his back, between two steel electrical boxes.

I ran down the stairs, expecting to find a severely injured dog. Miraculously, Greg was in a ‘sit’ position, but skewed sideways as though drunk. He simply stood up, shook himself, and ran off. He then started to sniff around the area, continuing to search for evidence as though nothing had happened, while I checked to see if I still had a pulse.

Spinning in a Circle

Greg and I were assigned to help the Dane County Narcotics Unit execute a search warrant.  The tenants at the apartment to be search were arrested earlier that day delivering a kilo of cocaine.

Greg searched a couple of rooms and located some cocaine in a drawer. We then entered a bedroom. Greg intently searched the tops of everything in the room.  He sniffed the top of the bed, he sniffed the top of the dresser, he sniffed carpet in the room…  He then glanced up and sniffed in the center of the room.  He then began circling in the middle of the room, sniffing with his nose in the air. Above him was an attic access door. Greg ended up standing on his hind legs, continuing to sniff as he walked in a small circle under the attic access door, like a dog performing a trick.

Next, I set a chair on top of small table and got up into the attic space. We located 41 kilos of cocaine in the attic – the second largest seizure of cocaine in state history at the time.

The Helicopter and the Devil Dog

Greg had an extremely effective technique in his bite-work practice.  He would launch at his target, catching the person serving as our training decoy (in a protective “bite suit”) around the upper part of their shoulder.  He would then relax and let his body weight swing around the person while they attempted to run away.  Greg would then snap his head and the person would leave their feet as they and Greg spun around like helicopter blades through the air.  Greg could do this even to large men well over 200 pounds. Smaller people didn’t really stand a chance against him.

Greg also had an unusual characteristic while engaged in bite-work. The decoys who wore the bite suit or  a bite sleeve told me that, during his bites, Greg’s eyes would roll back in their sockets and the whites of his eyes would turn red, making him look like a “devil dog.”

Rest in peace, Greg. Thank you for your tireless service and dedication to keeping your community safe.

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