Noon Lions see Marietta Police K-9 in action
MARIETTA – Marietta Police’s K-9 unit took a bite out of the Marietta Noon Lions dinner Thursday, or at least the president of the service organization.
Thirty-six-year-old Brandon Burnworth, the third Burnworth to hold the office, suited up and even wore his combat helmet for the demonstration with Edo, the trained police dog of MPD.
“Each club member at some point is in charge of the club’s program and today as part of our service we’re donating to the training of Edo and his handler Officer Glen McClelland,” explained Burnworth, with his helmet on and a nervous grin on his face. “Somehow I said yes to putting on this stunt as we encourage our membership to grow and show that not only are we a service organization but we’re one that is here to have a good time in a family atmosphere.”
The Noon Lions focus its service in five primary areas, he explained, sight-saving, environment, childhood cancer, diabetes and hunger.
“But we have a good time doing it,” Burnworth added.
McClelland said he was happy to join the club for dinner Thursday and is always willing to provide demonstrations with Edo.
“It’s good for him and good for people to see him and understand,” he explained. “To the dog it’s just a game, it’s not like he’s wanting to hurt someone, he’s doing his job to get a treat.”
But before Edo, who recently turned 6 years old, could jump on Burnworth and earn his treat, McClelland was peppered with questions from the 32 Lions present as they built up the hype for the big demonstration.
Some offered questions on training, on how different drugs are detected, while others asked how hard the bite of a police dog can be. Even Brandon’s father, and a former president of the club, Washington County Common Pleas Judge Randall Burnworth got in on the fun.
“I’d pay extra to have it go on an extra 30 seconds,” laughed the judge.
McClelland explained that Edo is a mixed breed, called a Belgian Shepherd, and has the strength of German Shepherds but is smarter because he has Belgian Malinois in him.
“Edo is a bigger dog,” he began.
“Oh, great,” interjected Brandon to the raucous laughter of the club.
“A Malinois has a really high drive and they’re not as prone to hip dysplasia as the shepherds,” McClelland continued. “The first (K-9 MPD had) was in 1996 or 1997.”
McClelland explained that Edo is trained as a dual-purpose police dog in narcotics detection, tracking, article search, building search, area search and suspect apprehension.
He also noted that the pair is nationally certified and retrained yearly so as to aid in investigations and apprehension across state boundaries.
Following the dinner the crowd gathered in the back parking lot of the Lafayette Hotel to watch Brandon suit up and run from Edo–and the teeth came out.
“I’m not going to lie, you’ll feel a slight pinch when he bites,” added McClelland before the exodus outdoors. “But he doesn’t even know he’s hurting anybody because I call him off so quick. And in the four years I’ve had him, he’s only had to apprehend a suspect for real, once.”
Edo jumped up to bite Burnworth three times but didn’t take him to the ground.
“That was incredible, though,” Burnworth said afterward. “He has so much power.”