CATEGORY: Tupelo Stories
Hed: Newest nose of the law
By Michaela Gibson Morris
The Tupelo Police Department has a new four-legged officer in training, thanks to a Colorado-based missing children's foundation.
To aid in the search for missing or abducted children, ALIE Foundation Chief Executive Officer Richard Berrelez presented Tupelo Reserve Officer Michael Anglin with a bloodhound puppy Monday morning.
"This is one of 80 bloodhounds we've donated to (law enforcement) officers around the country," said Berrelez, whose foundation is based in Denver. In addition to the bloodhound program, the foundation's primary mission is to provide child abduction prevention seminars.
The dog's full name will be ALIE, for the foundation, Brighton, for the Brighton, Colo., Rainbow Girls club which donated the money for the dog, Casey, in memory of slain Lee County Juvenile Detention Officer Casey Harmon, who was killed in March.
Anglin, a volunteer officer, did the research into the foundation's bloodhound program and has been training with Monroe County Sheriff's Department bloodhound handlers to prepare for the dog, said Officer Jim Cresson, who oversees the reserve program. Anglin also will provide all the care and food for the dog at his home.
"This is an extended commitment for him," Cresson said.
Casey, who is 4 months old, will undergo about six months of intensive training before officially going on duty, Anglin said.
Despite the extra work, Anglin said he is excited about training with Casey.
"I've always wanted to work with K-9's," Anglin said.
Because bloodhounds are docile as well as gifted trackers, they are ideal dogs to search for missing people, Berrelez and Cresson said. Because Anglin works at night for the City of Tupelo, he will be available to the police department during the peak times for missing children reports.
"Most kids (are reported) missing between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.," Cresson said.
The foundation originally began the bloodhound donation program so Colorado police could move more quickly in missing children's case. Berrelez and his wife, Leticia, started the ALIE Foundation after their 5-year-old granddaughter, Alie, was abducted and killed by a stranger in May 1993.
At the time of her disappearance, there were only three trained police bloodhounds in Colorado, according to the ALIE website. The dogs were assigned to an out-of-state case, and it was three days before they arrived on the scene and were able to located Alie's body.