A West Midlands Police dog handler has been commended for his bravery in catching a fleeing suspect despite suffering a horror injury on a metal fence spike.
PC Dan Thomas and trusty canine sidekick ‘Gil’ were tracking the man through gardens in Sutton Coldfield on 30 December 2017 when he slipped scaling an eight-foot fence.
The three-pronged spike – on a school perimeter near Langley Hall Drive – tore through Dan’s bicep but despite suffering major blood loss he managed to pull himself free and chase down the suspect.
A 22-year-old man was arrested but moments later Dan lost consciousness and needed surgery on the wound to repair the damage; a 16-year-old male was also arrested nearby by police colleagues.
Despite the severity of the injury – which required 15 stitches – Dan was back on duty with PD ‘Gil’ just a few weeks later and back on the tail of crime suspects.
And at a West Midlands Police awards ceremony on 12 March, Dan was presented with a Chief Constable’s Commendation by Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe in recognition of his efforts.
PC Thomas said:
“Gil is a phenomenal partner and I’m very proud to work with him. I knew Gil was onto the suspect. I could see the blood pouring down my arm but was determined we had to keep on the scent and catch him.
“I was tracking alone with Gil but colleagues quickly found me and applied a tourniquet to prevent further blood loss.
“Obviously I’m eternally grateful to them and also to the paramedics and doctors at the hospital for all their brilliant work; they said I was lucky and that with such a serious wound I could have suffered a very serious arterial bleed.
“It’s always a proud moment to receive an award – and of course I’m sharing this Commendation with Gil!”
PC Thomas – who has served with West Midlands Police for 17 years – has two other Chief Constable’s Commendations to his name for courageous acts.
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