This was one of those out of the ordinary tracks that will stick with me forever.
Currently I'm in my 16th year running behind a police dog and this was a new one for me. I received a radio run for a naked sexual predator in the rear of a city townhouse. The location is a high density housing area on hills and terraced in many areas. The suspect had been seen wearing only a bra and was armed with a sharp edged weapon.
We started tracking the suspect after entering a yard with 6’ tall fence borders. Although the track was 40 minutes old, the suspect left a great scent picture for K9 Castro. Castro indicated the crossing and over the first fence he went. We proceeded over the fence to a 4 ft drop down into a housing complex. This was a concrete area and Castro tracked through this to a 3-4 ft brick wall. He located an article before wanting to cross. This area was on the peak of the hill and just over the other side, you can see the city. I realized over the wall was the roof line. The houses were tiered along the hillside. This is where the IronDog training kicked off.
Castro was keen, so over he went onto the tiled roof. Initially we were 1 story up but due to the decline, this quickly proceeded to 2 stories. Important to note, is the work we did during IronDog training on heights and repelling. This has been incorporated into Castro’s training and added to his success this night.
Castro tracked along the wet roof, it had been raining and you could hear the tiles moving and his nails clicking over the wet, slippery surface whilst on the roof. He didn’t bat an eyelid and was locked in on the track. The roof wrapped around the building. As we got around the first turn below us I could see the roof of a two story building neighboring this property. Castro tracked and I even radioed to update crews that I was tracking on the roof (which I was in fact surprised myself). Castro continued and hit on another article, this was the sharp edged weapon the suspect dropped and was covered in blood.
The track continued to a lower roof where Castro indicated the offender had climbed down between roof and walls of the building. I could see the first story housing windows below us. Just like IronDog training, I prepared for the lowering of Castro to the ground. The area was great for an ambush to get me and or Castro as we repelled down, so I got a nice spot where Castro could get the offender first. I Checked his harness, gathered up the lead and then lowered him down off the roof. Once he was down, I gave him enough line to negate the offender if he was "lying in wait'. After clearing the area, I slowly climbed down. We continued tracking through various small yards and a childcare center. Castro was indicating on areas along the track, where I believe the suspect had temporarily bedded down, while making decisions on where to move to. We continued to an area with a 6 ft wall that led to a retaining wall with a 6 ft fence. Crossing that fence seemed the most logical to me, however Castro indicated on a 3 ft fence to my side that went straight into a 12 ft drop. This made little sense to me, but I trusted Castro and we got ready and I lowered him again. Once down we went into a small Courtyard where Castro located a brush belonging to the suspect. The brush was covered in blood.
Continuing the track, there were three possible exits out, all fence crossings. The 6 ft was easy, a 4 ft with a similar drop, and another 4 ft into a similar drop with cluttered crap everywhere. Castro continued through the cluttered area and I noticed a water heater below with a blood smear on top of it. Then I saw a small blood smear on an electrical box above. I realized he was climbing the side of the building to get onto a second story balcony. This was too risky for Castro and would expose us both too much. So we headed to the other side of the house that was cluttered, followed by another huge drop off. Like the first two rappels, we sorted ourselves and I lowered him down, gave him line, cleared the area, then I climbed down. He immediately indicated on the track going off the second story patio and continued down through the complex into a stairwell. Castro climbed a final flight of stairs and located the suspect bedded down, wearing only a bra. The suspect was apprehended on the scene without incident.
Just wanted to share this, as it was one out of the ordinary. Ever since your IronDog course I’ve included altitude exposures in his training and it paid off for me. Thanks for the knowledge!