Canine officer retires with commendation, appreciation for handler

by Kathleen Steele Gaivin
June 7 city council meeting
Brecksville City Council awarded a commendation to Peto, the police department’s canine officer, in honor of his retirement after 10 years on the Force, as well as expressing appreciation for the dog’s handler, Sgt. Michael Bauman.

“Nothing can light up a room of children as much as a police officer walking in with his canine partner. … On the opposite end of that, nothing brings fear amongst a traffic stop as to have a police officer come up with his dog, especially if the dog is barking. He serves two ends of the spectrum,” Mayor Jerry Hruby said.  “Without him, there would have been many, many arrests not made for drugs, and many people not found; many children not as happy as they would have been. The demonstrations that Bauman and Peto did for the public, and just the general atmosphere is something that I think everyone here at city hall just fell in love with Peto and recognized the value to the community.”

Pursuant to a provision in the Ohio Revised Code, city council authorized the transfer of ownership of Peto to Baumann for $1.

Emergency preparedness

Following the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the mayor said Brecksville is getting attention for the emergency preparedness plan the Brecksville Fire Department implemented after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. While the city’s program may not be unique across the country, he said it is somewhat unique in this region. If a school shooting or similar event occurred locally, Brecksville medics are prepared to go into the situation right behind police officers. As the police search for the gunman, the paramedics would search for and treat victims without needing to wait for an “all clear” call.

Brecksville’s paramedics train with the police department to go into an active shooting scene, protected by bulletproof vests and helmets, and carrying medical supplies to treat victims immediately, Fire Chief Nick Zamiska said.

“We acknowledge the fine work of both departments. It’s something that is very important to our community. Again, after that incident that took place down in Texas, there’s a great concern for our community,” the mayor said.

Ed Gallek Fox  8 of News recently featured Brecksville’s innovative program in an I-Team segment.

Non-resident recreation department memberships

Recreation Director Rachele Engle said that to date, the city has sold 235 recreation memberships (70 families) to non-Brecksville residents, out of 500 authorized by council last month. The mayor clarified that the 500 cap means 500 people and not 500 families.

The outdoor aquatics center opened Memorial Day weekend for residents only. The following weekend, June 4 and 5, Engle said 13 non-residents attended the outdoor pool on Saturday and 25 non-residents attended on Sunday. ∞