Cleveland Metroparks Police Department founded its K-9 unit in 2002. The K-9 unit patrols the entire Park District and specializes in locating missing people, apprehending flee suspects and odor detection. Members of the unit continuously update their skills through weekly training exercises, statewide instruction and national training conferences. The award-winning unit has an outstanding reputation and neighboring police departments regularly request their assistance. The K-9 unit also draws upon its unique public appeal to promote safety and crime prevention and Cleveland Metroparks events and community outreach opportunities.
All the K-9 units have been generously provided, free of charge, by Tom and Kathy Schmidt, owners of Schmidt’s of Macedonia and coordinators of the Buckeye Area Regional K-9 (BARK).
Currently the K-9 unit consists of Officer Collins with K-9 Chase and Officer McLellan with K-9 Creed, both dogs are certified in narcotics detections and general patrol. K-9 Chase is also certified in cadaver detection.
Cleveland Metroparks Ranger Department’s K9 Chase received a gift of body armor, and now K9 Tyson is receiving that same protection.
The Cleveland Metroparks Ranger Department's K9 Chase received a bullet and stab protective vest, and K9 Tyson is receiving the same protection thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. Both vests are sponsored by Consultative Insurance Group of Middleburg Heights, OH and Olmstead Falls, OH, respectively. Both vests are embroidered with the sentiment: "Protection provided by Consultative Insurance".
Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has provided over 2,700 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 2.3 million dollars.
The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate.
The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $950.00. Each vest has a value between $1,744 – $2,283 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508.824.6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718.
Meet the K-9 Unit
Creed, a 3 month old German Shepard, is the newest addition to the Cleveland Metroparks Ranger Department’s K-9 Unit. Creed was sworn in by the Board of Park Commissioners’ in December 2016. He was donated by Tom and Kathy Schmidt of Schmidt’s of Macedonia. Creed will serve as a dual-purpose patrol and narcotics detection dog. Creed’s handler is Ranger Chelsea McLellan, who has been with the Ranger Department for four years. Ranger McLellan has an Associate’s Degree in Wildlife Management from Hocking College and also completed her basic police academy at Hocking.
Left to right: Bruce G. Rinker, Vice President; Dan T. Moore, Vice President;
Ranger Chelsea McLellan with K-9 Creed; and Debra K. Berry, President.
Chase was sworn in on January 28 2015 during the Board of Park Commissioners meeting and then introduced to media and a group of excited fifth graders from Valley View Elementary School in Cleveland during a program at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Chase, who was born on November 2, 2014, and is a dual purpose K-9 certified in patrol and narcotics. Currently, Chase is also undergoing training in cadaver detection and has already started his training. Ranger dogs begin with narcotics detection training, before moving on to more advanced detection training such as cadaver work.
Ranger Will Collins and K-9 Chase have recovered several large seizures of narcotics and money in their short career. They both enjoy interacting with the public and working hard to make the Cleveland Metroparks safe.