Sun | Dec 8, 2019

Top dog bites the bullet - Tim presses paws on career, living like royalty on police pension

Published:Monday | December 2, 2019 | 12:19 AM
District Constable Okeino Ashley goes through a routine with pal and partner of eight years, Tim.
District Constable Okeino Ashley goes through a routine with pal and partner of eight years, Tim.
Retired dog from the Canine Division, Tim.
District Constable Okeino Ashley, chief handler, and Sandra Mason pose with Tim, retired dog from the Canine Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Tim is a seven-year retired veteran of the police force.
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Andre Williams/Staff Reporter

 

After closing the final chapter on a stellar career in crime fighting, Tim is now kicking up his heels at the Canine Division and living off his police pension.

The service dog stole the limelight at the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) long-service awards ceremony at the Police Officers’ Club in St Andrew last Thursday, only sharing a bit of the glory with his partner of eight years, District Constable Okeino Ashley.

Tim and Ashley received awards from Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson following Tim’s retirement in January after seven years of active service. He is the first dog to be recognised by the JCF since its Canine Division was established in 1956.

In his heyday, Tim contributed to the seizure of approximately 100lb of marijuana, more than 50lb of cocaine, and 11 arrests.

The jet-black Labrador Retriever rubs shoulders with more than 50 other dogs at the police Canine Division on South Camp Road, The Gleaner understands, but about 20 are active-duty animals.

When our news team visited the Canine Division yesterday, the decorated police dog was lapping up retirement.

“He is there basically as a beacon in the division. Seeing that this dog has done so much over the years, so every time that someone comes to the division, they would say, ‘OK, this is the dog that made that detection.

“This is the dog that basically put K9 on the forefront, so having him present, we can take care of him and ensure that he is well kept, similar to a human in a golden age home. That is the kind of royalty that Tim basically enjoys,” he said.

Another of Tim’s handlers, Sandra Mason, is one of three female kennel attendants at the division and who has been tasked with caring for Tim before and after retirement. But even though he’s officially off duty, the Labrador Retriever still has a spark.

“Even though he is on retirement, he is ready to work. When I come in the morning and Tim sees me or Mr Ashley, wow, his day is ready, him bright. ... I love the fight what he has in him,” said Mason, a 27-year veteran of Canine who conducts exercise sessions, as well as feeds and talks to the service dog.

Ashley says he will never forget his first four-legged crime-fighting buddy, having started their careers simultaneously. Moving on with a new partner will be difficult, district constable shared, admitting that even Time has shown a sense of jealousy about being left behind by his old pal.

“At times, I miss him … . Once I get to this area where he can see me him start to bark and sometimes I try to shy away from him because I don’t want him to feel like, ‘Why are you not taking me out or why are you with another dog?’” said the cop.

Although his groom Mason told of his humility, even Tim was conscious that he had made history and was being awarded for his hard work, said Ashley.

“Well, if you had captured the moment, you would see that he was there posing for the camera, living in the moment. Whatever you as the handler senses, it filters down. ... If you sense happiness, the dog will, too, because the dog feeds off the handler’s energy,” the district constable told The Gleaner.

Both Mason and DC Ashley both contend that Tim takes professionalism to such extremes, he won’t take sides in disputes - even for his handler.

“It doesn’t matter how upset or angry you get, he won’t react in that way. If me and you have an altercation and I get aggressive, even though dogs are protective of their handlers, he won’t intervene, you won’t see that level of aggression from the dog. Tim would more like shame and feel a way, but I can guarantee, no matter how you provoke this dog, he won’t attack you.”

He hopes that Tim’s award will set a precedent for others within the Canine Division to be recognised.

“With Tim being the first, I hope that probably come next year, a second dog can be awarded as well. There are a lot of dogs here that are doing their best.”

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com