Sunday, February 10, 2008


Meet Elyria Police Officer Tom Baracskai, after passing their Certification on Thursday, he and his new partner Fokey become the second canine unit for the City of Elyria. They join Officer Rick Walker and his partner Stuka who have been patrolling the streets of Elyria and tracking suspects since March of 2007. It was then that we introduced Walker & Stuka to you and through that interview explained the process of getting a canine partner. As Officer Baracskai and Fokey begin their journey as partners we thought we would take you through their certification process.

To read the entire story and see all the photos: CLICK HERE


Anonymous e318 said...

GREAT JOB Tom and Fokey!!!! Nice story and pictures TMC...Thanks.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the fire department should have search and rescue dogs. They don't have any way to do search and rescue if a building were to collapse or somebody go caught in a mine shaft. Yes by the way, there are open mine shafts in this area. It is a tragedy waiting to happen. Why is it always about the police and their equipment.

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the fire department would buy, and train a dog just to search for people in a collapse. It does not happen that often. It wouldn't justfy spending the money. Dogs are used more by police departments.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Pat said...

So your suggestion is for a fire department or departments to purchase and train, and don’t forget all the extra training they would have to go through, a dog for search and rescue in mine collapses in lorain county?

We have mines in Lorain County? I don’t recall in my long life of any mine collapses. There was the one on the Andy Griffith Show but Barney was able to get the town to work together and save Andy and Helen.

I firmly believe that the Police needs dogs long long long before a fire department. Don’t get me wrong, I also believe that local fire departments need to be properly funded so they can also have the proper equipment they need to do their jobs. Just don’t think a dog is something they need or have ever needed.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Rick Walker said...

In response to anonymous concerns...For over 25 years, the Elyria Police Department was without a K9 Unit. During that time, we utilized area departments through the mutual aid agreement. If we needed the use of a K9 and an Officer from another department was working, we were never turned down for assistance. In the event a K9 Officer wasn't working and the call was serious enough, the supporting agency would call the Officer out to assist us without question. This same mutual aid agreement is also utilized by surrounding fire departments everyday.

I'm not saying your department wouldn't benefit from having direct access to a search and rescue K9 Team. I'm all for any equipment, training or tool that would make both of our jobs safer to protect life, limb and property. But to say, "Why is it always about the police and their equipment.", makes you sound like a spoiled 2 year old who is going to take his little red truck and go home!!!

The addition of the two K9 Units to the Elyria Police Department were made possible from private donations and not from the City budget. By no stretch was this an easy task that happened over night. A great deal of time, effort and cooperation from the department up to City Hall was needed...Not to mention the generous donations from a local businesswoman. (Thank-You) If this is something you feel that strong about getting started, you know what you need to do to make it happen. Not everything is going to be handed to you!!

I've had the pleasure in the past year and a half working and training with Lt. John Bellflower of the Cleveland Fire Department. Lt. Bellflower currently has and works three search and rescue K9's. Everytime I see him and his partners work, I still shake my head in amazement at what they can do and overcome. He is, without a doubt a credit to the Cleveland Fire Department!!!

I know first hand the benefits the addition of a search and rescue team could do for your department. I'm sure if you contact Lt. Bellflower at CFD or contact me at EPD (440-323-3302), I'll be more that happy to get you in touch with him. I'm sure he (and I) will assist you in anyway shape or form if you go about it the right way.

Officer Rick Walker
Elyria Police Department
K9 Unit

9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well since we are talking in terms of years gone by... I think, and this is just my personal opinion. If the city of Elyria spent the amount of money needed to properly equip the fire service the amount of lives saved would be tremendous.

First they close stations, then they provide vehicles that disintegrate when you are responding to a working fire.

What next...hey, let's cut the number of firefighters some more, it saves money right?

Don't take into account the amount of structures, human lives, and roadways that the Elyria Fire Department is responsible for.

If you take he amount of money it would take to train a rescue dog, which could also respond to disasters around the country it would be a pittance when compared to the overall city budget. Take some money from the trails project and invest in lifesaving equipment.

We all remember 9/11 don't we. Many rescue dogs not only performed heroically but so did their firefighter handlers.

You never know when disasters will strike, we live on a major rail line and under major air traffic patterns.

I believe that properly trained handlers and dogs would be an asset to the city and the county which is staffed by poorly trained under equiped volunteers.

The life you save may be your own.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear anonymus Firefighter (or someone related to a firefighter.) Sounds like Rick Walker is willing to help you get the search and rescue dog that the Elyria Fire Dept needs. What baffles me is that your response to his offering. Your response sounds like you want ythe City to GIVE it to you. You nave to be willing to help yourself now and then. Like Rick said, we would be more than willing to help you help your department. Just call us and we can let you know how the Police department obtained our dogs, and it was not from the City budget.

Tom Baracskai

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if the fire departments in Elyria aren't spoiled enough! Give me a break, now they want a K-9 Dog! It's bad enough that we have to spend our tax money having trucks chase accidents. Please be reasonable. You guys are overpaid, sleep more than you work and cook in your stations.

Nice post Officer Walker. Very well written. You should be very proud!

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SAR dogs are available for EFD through the USAR Reg 2 Strike Team. Any type of working dog is a huge commitment,as any handler would tell you. It would be great if another FD member (EFD) would do it. I would love to work with them ! Many congrats to the new K-9team on EPD. Tom and Fookey !

4:48 PM  

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