TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Titusville Police K-9 “Chase” is the top dog.
Chase won the Space Coast’s Hardest-Hitting K-9 competition.
Chase’s handler, K-9 Officer Tyler Glenn, said in addition to an incredibly powerful bite, Chase has an incredible sense of smell that allows him to track a human from just a few skin cells left behind.
“His sense of smell is tens of thousands of times greater than ours,” Glenn said. “He can pick up on just the smallest human odor. From there he can remember to track it through whatever environment they may be in.”
Chase tracked attempted murder suspect Bobby Mack Britt deep into the woods after police said Britt shot a man in the back at point-blank range at a 7-Eleven in downtown Titusville.
Britt, 19, was charged with attempted first degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony and several other serious felonies.
“If he was able to get away from us and keep running, he would have absolutely posed a threat to public safety or even the officers on scene,” Glenn said. “With our training and everything, he’s set up for success, to pick up our slack where we may not be able to be capable all the time.”
Chase is trained in tracking but also drug detection and undergoes 16 hours of monthly retraining alongside Glenn.
And Chase is just as skilled in tracking a good guy -- a missing Alzheimer’s patient, for example -- as much as a bad guy.
“Obviously he doesn’t know if he’s going after the bad guys, he just knows it’s time to work and that’s what makes him happy and what he enjoys to do,” Glenn said.
But where Chase really shines is his ability to break down barriers.
“Having the K-9, people can see past the uniform or the car, they can see, oh, I have a dog,” Glenn said. “Then petting the dog and seeing how friendly and sociable he is kind of breaks down a lot of barriers. We can have a conversation and talk.”
Glenn and Chase recently donated dog food to the SPCA of Brevard County for the overwhelming influx of dogs taken in by the shelter.
The visit was also a chance to connect with the community, especially children.
“The message to kids, especially at a young age, is that we’re not anything to be scared of, or the dogs,” Glenn said. “We’re part of the community too.”
Glenn said Chase and the other K-9s at the Titusville Police Department make regular appearances at schools and community events.
“A lot of people probably wouldn’t come up to a police officer but they see the dog and love to talk and get to meet the dogs and spend time with them,” Glenn said.
Chase often assists as an ice-breaker in the community he patrols, Glenn said.
“We may not have a conversation in the moment, but it definitely builds that trust and that relationship so if they see me at a later date, maybe a worse day for them or tougher day for them or going through a tough situation, they remember me from a couple months ago or weeks ago,” Glenn said.