Smokey, the Statesboro Police Department’s K-9 in training, received his first commendation Tuesday, for potentially lifesaving actions before he has officially entered service.
SPD Chief Mike Broadhead presented the framed letter of commendation to Smokey and his trainer, Michael Duncan, during Tuesday morning’s Statesboro City Council meeting.
Duncan, a local dog trainer and former law enforcement officer, offered last August to donate the bloodhound puppy to the SPD. When the department held an online naming contest in September, almost 2,000 people took part, and “Smokey” was the winning name from the top four suggestions.
In a recent call to an apartment complex, Smokey, still in his year of training, helped police find someone who was suicidal and left indication she wanted to harm herself, Broadhead said. Detective Keith Holloway reportedly called Duncan at home and asked for his and Smokey’s help.
“They tracked her about 772 yards in about 22 minutes. … She was hiding from the officers but couldn’t hide from Smokey,” Broadhead said. “He went right to her, and he probably saved that woman’s life. So we just wanted to recognize Michael and Smokey and give Smokey his first commendation ever.”
Council members, the mayor and people in the audience joined in applause.
Smokey was Duncan’s pick from a litter by his personal tracking bloodhound Red.
"I live in this town, and I hope to one day see a headline that Red's pup helped find a missing child or someone who wandered away from a nursing home," Duncan said last fall in a story about his donation.
Another local benefactor, Joey Coty with JAB Construction, is paying for most of Smokey’s training and upkeep, Broadhead said.