Partners in Crime and Life
By Debra Taylor Tee
It takes a special breed of human to put his-or herself in harm’s way to protect and serve their community. Moreover, it takes a special breed of canine to successfully master the art of tracking criminals, bombs and missing persons. When the two come together as a united front, it becomes an unstoppable, award-winning team of professional crime-fighters and life-savers.
Deputy Joe Liddick joined the Pasco Sheriff’s Office in 1996 and became a member of the K-9 Unit in 2000. Joe partnered with Ace when he was an 8-month-old puppy, and after a few months of specialized training, they hit the streets and have performed as one of those heroic teams since. To date, this K-9 team has successfully tracked and located 275 people, and they hold the record for the most catches in a single year at 75.
“Ace is a great dog to have as a partner. At home, he is a regular dog who likes to play with kids and other animals, but when I put on my uniform, he is ready to go to work. He is a tracking machine and can catch a scent from a mile away. Once he has caught the scent, nothing can stop him,” Officer Liddick boasts.
Criminals emit a scent of adrenaline when they are fleeing from police. They will often make a futile attempt to hide wherever they think law enforcement won’t find them. When a K-9 team like Deputy Joe Liddick and K-9 Officer Ace join a search, even a perpetrator hidden in a murky, gator-infested swamp won’t escape arrest.
However, it is not always criminals that need to be found. For example, a gentleman with a medical condition went missing for several hours in a heavily-wooded area while searching for his downed remote-controlled plane. In the midst of a diabetic episode, the man was tracked by K-9 Officer Ace, and medical attention was summoned by Deputy Joe Liddick, saving the man’s life.
Thanks to their numerous, valiant, crime-stopping, life-saving efforts, Deputy Joe Liddick and K-9 Officer Ace gained recognition from their peers last March, when they were awarded the 2015 Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year and K-9 of the Year honors.
“This job is very dangerous, but it is also very exciting and very rewarding,” Deputy Joe Liddick admits. ““It’s great to get to work with Ace. Every day at work for him is like play. He thinks it is one big game. He is great at tracking people and loves what he does. He makes me look good!”
The Liddick family recently celebrated their beloved Ace’s 8th birthday party with hamburgers served up at local restaurant, and no canine deserved it more!
From all of us at IT’s YOUR HOME Magazine & Topaz Digital Ink, Happy Birthday, Ace, and thanks for your highly specialized level of service to our community! To Deputy Liddick and law enforcement officers everywhere: many thanks for your service and sacrifice to keep us and our communities safe!
You can follow Deputy Joe Liddick with K-9 Officer Ace on the Pasco Sheriff’s K-9 Association Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/psok9association