The Broadview Heights Police Department’s K-9 Unit welcomed its latest addition after Patrolman Nick Kashi and canine officer Zeus completed an 8-week training course in November.
Kashi joins Patrolman Richard Giles and his canine counterpart, Chase, who went on active K-9 duty in May 2020.
Patrolman Phil Adams, who retired last year, was instrumental in bringing the K-9 program to the city in 1993.
“Officer Adams had five dogs throughout the program,” explained Giles. “He did a full 30 years of being in the K-9 Unit, which is a long time to be handling dogs because it’s not an easy job. It’s not only the mental aspect in working with the dog 24/7, but the physical aspect of working with dogs is also a very demanding endeavor. Even when he’s at home, you’re still working with him.”
Zeus, a 3-year-old, 65-pound German Shepherd, joins with Chase, an 85-pound, 5-year-old German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, to continue the program in the city.
Both canine officers are trained in narcotics detection, apprehensions/tracking and handler protection. They received their Excel K-9 Services in Hiram, Ohio.
Kashi, who has been with the department for 2½ years, said it has been a lifelong dream of his to join a police K-9 unit.
“Ever since I was little and watching ‘Cops’ on TV, I always liked watching the K-9 videos,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve always had an interest in from my youth.”
Both patrolmen received mentoring on being a K-9 handler from Adams.
“I was fortunate to have Phil Adams here for a little while still, along with Rich [Giles],” said Kashi. “They have both given me good pointers on how to handle the dog. They have both helped me out a lot, especially with Rich having gone through the same training program that I did at Excel K-9. So, Rich and I have similar commands for the dogs and the way in which we were taught.”
Both dogs were born in Slovakia and acquired through Excel K-9 Services. Commands to the dogs are given in the Czech language.
The dogs also share similar personality traits, explained Giles, who has been with the department 12 years. “They’re both very high energy, goal-driven and very good with people,” he said. “But even though they’re high energy, they can dial it back when they need to. I have a 2-year-old daughter at home, and I have no problem letting Chase run around the house with her because he knows how to dial it back. He’s much gentler at home, especially when my daughter is around.”
The unit trains periodically with other area police K-9 units including Bedford, Brecksville, Brook Park Independence, Strongsville and Warrensville Heights, Giles explained. “We train with other area departments to collectively work through any issues our dogs may have, or come up with scenarios that no one may have thought about,” he said. “We come up with different scenarios to prepare our dogs to be successful on the road.”
The program provides the department a key public relations opportunity with local schools and the community. Zeus, whose name was chosen through a local social media platform contest, experienced his first public relations interactions at Broadview Heights Winterfest, held on city campus Dec. 2.
“That was my first PR experience with Zeus, and he did really well with the kids,” said Kashi. “He had not been around young kids before, and I was a little worried about how he would respond, but he did fantastic. I look forward to visiting the schools to allow students and staff to meet him.”
“Kids absolutely love the dogs,” Giles said. “We can use them as a tool to form a relationship with the community in a positive light,” said Giles. “One of my favorite things is walking with Chase at Home Days and other city events. We just did ‘Shop with a Cop’ recently together. Just having the opportunity to meet with the community and seeing how excited people get when they meet the dogs is a very rewarding aspect of the program.”
The program receives support from city officials, residents and a number of local businesses, including Apple Hill Animal Hospital and Pawsitively Pure All Natural Pet Food, Giles added.
“All the community support we receive for the program from residents, businesses, city council and the mayor is pretty humbling,” he said. “It’s really nice to see everyone get so excited about our K-9 unit.”
“The biggest thing is the public relations; no matter what, people love the dogs,” said Police Chief Steven Raiff. “When they want to do tours of our building, or when we had Winterfest just recently, they love the K-9. It’s just another way that we can have a positive connection with the residents. On the same token, when we’re talking drug interdiction, tracking and foot pursuits, it adds another level of enforcement that we otherwise wouldn’t have.”
The Broadview Heights Police Department’s
K-9 unit is now comprised of Patrolman
Nick Kashi and his K-9 partner, Zeus,
and Patrolman Richard Giles and his
counterpart, Chase. Photo by Dan Holland.
Patrol Officer Nick Kashi (right) and
Zeus took on their first public relations
assignment at the city’s Winterfest
celebration Dec. 2. Photo by Dan Holland.
On our cover (photo): Broadview Heights Patrol Officer Richard Giles and his K-9 counterpart, Chase, and Patrol Officer Nick Kashi, pictured with the department’s new K-9 officer, Zeus, have teamed up to expand the department’s K-9 unit in recent weeks. Photo by Dan Holland.