Springfield police K-9 unit keeping streets safer - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Springfield police K-9 unit keeping streets safer

Posted: Updated:
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Flying down the streets of Springfield to a call, Officer Raul Gonzalez knows that his partner has his back.

But his partner is not dressed in uniform.

Kira, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, is the one who stands by him on calls.

"It shortens the amount of time that an officer is out there looking for a suspect because a dog can pick up on that person a lot faster," Gonzalez said.

CBS 3 Springfield rode along in Gonzalez's cruiser as he and Kira responded to calls.

He has been a K-9 officer with the Springfield Police Department for years.

With his partner Kira, calls like one on Monday night, where witnesses reported seeing a man on Goodwin Street holding a gun, are not as scary.

In this case, police were able to safely apprehend the man, who turned out to not have a gun.

But Gonzalez says, in serious situations, K-9's like Kira, who are trained in tactics ranging from finding drugs to chasing down fugitives, can make all the difference.

"If he refuses to come out, then we can send the dog upstairs and apprehend him, depending on the circumstances...but thank god it turned out to be safe and nothing else," he said.

But Gonzalez has been on calls that have not ended like this one.

In April 2011, he responded to a call that could've been his last.

"Sometimes you get luck and guys give up and sometimes they don't. He was the type of guy that wasn't going to give up," Gonzalez said.

He's talking about escaped convict Tamik Kirkland who was hiding in the trunk of a car trying to evade police. And when he popped out, Gonzalez was waiting, and took a bullet to the chest. Fortunately, he was wearing a bullet proof vest.

"You don't want that to happen, you think it won't happen but it does," he said.

He says had he had Kira by his side that day, it could've all been prevented.

"I would've had the dog waiting in the back, we carry our dog's vests all the time, it could've been different. Because we use the dog, we send the dog in to apprehend suspects, we do that all the time, we train for that."

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Woman found dead after 2 days in bathroom stall

    Woman found dead after 2 days in bathroom stall

    Thursday, September 21 2017 7:49 AM EDT2017-09-21 11:49:00 GMT
    Patricia Austin. (CNN)Patricia Austin. (CNN)

    The family of a Chicago woman, who was found dead inside a health club bathroom stall, is demanding to know how their loved one was overlooked for two days.

    More >

    The family of a Chicago woman, who was found dead inside a health club bathroom stall, is demanding to know how their loved one was overlooked for two days.

    More >
  • ECSU student dies of natural causes

    ECSU student dies of natural causes

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 3:47 PM EDT2017-09-20 19:47:32 GMT

    Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dead in his dormitory room early on Wednesday morning. 

    More >

    Eastern Connecticut State University student was found dead in his dormitory room early on Wednesday morning. 

    More >
  • Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 7:30 PM EDT2017-09-20 23:30:11 GMT
    (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins.

    NEW YORK (AP) — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended. The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and New York manager Joe Girardi said he had been told by team security that she was OK. The game was delayed for about 4 minutes while she was attended to and then carried from the seat...

    More >

    NEW YORK (AP) — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended. The Yankees said the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment, and New York manager Joe Girardi said he had been told by team security that she was OK. The game was delayed for about 4 minutes while she was attended to and then carried from the seat...

    More >