Newest member of Mishawaka K-9 Unit receive award
Posted: Aug 31, 2011 2:23 AM EST | Updated: Nov 6, 2014 5:49 AM EST
Mishawaka, IN. - Today the newest members of the Mishawaka K-9 Unit were recognized by Mayor Dave Wood and Mishawaka's Chief of Police Kenneth Witkowski.
The K-9 Unit received the "Officers of the Second Quarter" award just eight months after joining the department.
The pair started on the force after Corporal James Szuba and his K-9 partner Ricky were killed in a car crash during a car pursuit almost two years ago.
Corporal Anthony Stachowiak and his K-9 partner Max joined the department back in January, and they did have some big shoes to fill. Since being hired on, they have worked hard to pick up right were Szuba and his dog Ricky left off.
When 42-year-old James Szuba and his K-9 Ricky both died in car crash almost two years ago, the Mishawaka Police Department was devastated.
The department had to find a replacement, but Corporal Anthony Stachowiak says he has never looked at himself and his dog Max as a replacement.
"From going from Ricky and Jim, there really is no way to replace those guys. They did an outstanding job, we are just trying to fill that void," Stachowiak.
The pair picked up right where Szuba and his dog Ricky left off, and people are taking notice of the hard work they are doing. Now the two have received the "Officers of the Second Quarter" award, and no one was more surprised than Stachowiak.
"It's a great honor. We l do a great job I think and they picked me out of everybody else, so it's a big deal."
Yet the corporal admits he could not have done it without the support of his fellow officers. "I would just like to give them a lot of credit because it's not just me doing it. We all work together to do this and a lot of people have helped me and supported me to make this dog what it is."
Stachowiak and his K-9 partner Max received the award after Max took down a gunman who ran from police. It was the first time Max ever had to bite someone since coming on duty in January.
After searching an entire apartment complex building, Max found the man hiding in a utility closet.
Since then the newly-trained K-9 has helped apprehend several criminals, but Stachowiak says they still have a lot of work to do.
"I have a long way to go and a lot to learn but it does feel good that we have had great success this early on. So, it's a good feeling that we have been working so hard and we are actually seeing results now.
The award is only the beginning for Stachowiak and his dog Max who will start training to locate drugs this January. The pair is also now eligible for the "Officer of the Year" award.