GRIFFITH | Entering his first full year on duty, Griffith's new police dog already has taken a bite out of crime in town and elsewhere.
Patrolman Robert Gutierrez, who partners with police dog Gino, gave town officials the rundown recently.
Gutierrez said support has been strong under the Police Department's new administration, including Police Chief Greg Mance and Lt. Jeff Gang.
Gino, a 2-year-old German shepherd who started in June, was deployed 55 times in his first four months and has helped make 15 arrests so far, including heroin and cocaine busts, Gutierrez said.
Gino's rapidly growing resume also includes catching a home/garage burglar and detecting marijuana in an apartment that resulted in the eviction of the offender, Gutierrez said.
Gino has helped neighboring departments 11 times, including Highland, the Lake County Sheriff's Department and Gary.
Among his talents is detecting cash that has been in contact with narcotics.
"We've had him in helicopters ... in boats, we've deployed out of a helicopter, different vehicles, semis, buses, apartments and large fields" to train him for all situations, Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said $66,000 in business and residential donations have helped. He also praised the students at Beiriger Elementary School, who donated a bullet proof vest for the dog.
Next on the list are narcotics training suits and bite suits, so the fundraising will continue, Gutierrez said.
Those wishing to help can donate at the police station.