HAMMOND — Watching police dog Aros lunge in the air, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. described the experience as a “fur missile” being launched his way. As the dog latched onto his arm, he was pulled to the ground with unexpected force.
“I did not expect that,” McDermott said. “I am 220 pounds, I’m not small, and that dog took me down. I was impressed. I could not imagine what it would be like without the bite suit on. It shows it’s a great option to use for non-lethal force.”
On Tuesday morning McDermott donned on a 100-pound bite suit and faced three of Hammond Police Department’s police dogs during training. Aros and Officer Enrique Cook; PJ and Officer Tim Schultz; and Jett and Officer Jay Woods were working on apprehending suspects at the police station.
Afterwards, PJ attacked McDermott’s sleeve and Jett latched onto his arm, dangling as he held on. McDermott said despite the heavy bite suit, he still had some bruising.
The mayor said he wanted to undergo a training day with the city’s police dogs because he has always been interested in the police K-9 Unit and wanted to see what it was like to work with them. McDermott said the dogs’ energy was palpable, sending his pulse rising as he awaited attack.
“By the time I got out there my pulse was 120,” McDermott said. “The dogs were barking and you could see them shaking with energy. In the end, I am glad I did it and the Hammond police got a laugh. Everyone wants to see the mayor go down.”
There are five dogs on the Hammond police force and each dog costs about $20,000 due to the high level of training they undergo, McDermott said.
“We use them every shift, they are invaluable to HPD,” McDermott said. “In this environment, we want to give our officers every chance possible for non-lethal confrontation.”
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