Indiana K-9 officer praised for heroic actions

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Parke County officers are praising the actions of their K9 comrade.

Do you remember Gemma? Ten months ago she hit the ground running, as the only four legged deputy at the Parke County Sheriff’s Office.

“She can tell me if somebody is there, even in the vehicle, if someone is walking up behind the vehicle, she can see that and it’s like having eyes in the back of your head. It’s a lonely day when she’s not with me,” said Handler Cory Hutchins.

The extra set of paws are already proving to be lifesaving.

On Sunday night a suicidal man called dispatch. He stated he was armed and wanted officers to kill him. “When we arrived he had a knife, a large pocket-knife, and then he had fled into a cornfield,” recalled Hutchins.

K9 Gemma was deployed and immediately sprang into action. Just moments later the man, who vowed not to back down, dropped his weapon and surrendered.

“He stated that if it hadn’t been for the K9 he would have rushed the officers and forced us to shoot him,” said Hutchins.

Just months ago, a peaceful ending may not have been possible without Gemma. “He knew with the K9 there we had a force multiplier, which would have prevented him from being shot and fulfilling what he wanted to do that day,” said Hutchins.

Learning how to detect and protect hasn’t been an easy task, but so far the long hours spent training are paying off. Gemma is being hailed a hero.

“Just her being there more than likely saved his life, and probably saved the officers from being injured or having to take his life,” said Hutchins.

Gemma is a two year-old Belgian Malinois. The Parke County Sheriff’s Office has been on the search for a K9 unit to join the force. When local dog trainer, Jack Shannon heard, he knew he needed to donate Gemma to the team. Without donations, Gemma would cost the sheriff’s office around $12,000.

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