On an otherwise ordinary night in November 2020, PC Adam Elwood, his partner PC Howlin, and police dog PD Cruz found themselves in an extraordinary situation.
They were searching for a vehicle linked to a stabbing incident, and their unflinching courage that night has earned them a well-deserved nomination for the National Police Bravery Awards 2023.
The Chase Begins
The duo, accompanied by PD Cruz, were initially headed to a stabbing scene when they spotted the wanted vehicle.
Without wasting a moment, they followed it until it abruptly sped off, sparking a high-speed chase.
The pursuit ended in a dead-end on a housing estate, where the vehicle crashed, and its four occupants fled on foot.
The Unfazed Heroes
Unperturbed by the chaos, PC Elwood and PD Cruz pursued the fleeing suspects.
It was in this heated moment that one of the suspects menacingly pointed a handgun at PC Elwood.
Despite the imminent threat, the brave officer made a split-second decision, choosing duty over danger and continued the chase.
In the ensuing pursuit, one suspect clambered onto a car roof, hoping to evade PD Cruz.
This was to no avail, and he was quickly apprehended and arrested.
Meanwhile, other police units in the area successfully captured the remaining three suspects.
A Significant Discovery
The post-chase search led to the discovery of a firearm, ammunition, and an empty clip.
A follow-up investigation disclosed that these dangerous suspects had fired three shots at a group, injuring a man and a woman.
Police Dogs: Unheralded Heroes
This courageous episode highlights the integral role police dogs play in law enforcement.
The lineage of these exceptional service dogs traces back to 1873, with a German Shepherd named Rex, the first police dog employed by the Metropolitan Police.
Today, the canine cohort typically consists of German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Labrador Retrievers.
They undertake a variety of tasks such as tracking suspects, sniffing out drugs and explosives, and providing protection.
Meeting stringent standards, these dogs undergo rigorous training and are certified for duty only when they master commands in both English and Welsh.
Like their human counterparts, these dogs are formally inducted into the force, given a badge and a service number, and treated with due benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.
They dutifully serve for around 7-10 years before retiring, often around the age of 10.
In the case of PD Cruz and PC Elwood, their determination in the face of danger helped ensure that a potentially harmful suspect didn’t escape.
Their heroic deed exemplifies the invaluable contribution of police dogs and their handlers in ensuring public safety.
This remarkable tale indeed underlines why they deserve the National Police Bravery Awards nomination.