Stranger gives K-9 officer Reno a fighting chance

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – Police K-9 Officer Reno will receive a bullet- and stab-proof vest from Vested Interest in K9s Inc. within eight to 10 weeks, thanks to a stranger from New York.

Willian McCaffrey, of Rego Park, N.Y., sponsored the vest Reno will soon be wearing. The German shepherd, who recently turned 4, is paired with partner Erik Thome.

Reno came to the department at 18 months old in 2013 and he trained with Thome. The pair is certified though the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers and continuously train at K9 ATF in Taylor, Police Chief Clifford Rosebohm said.

He said Reno is certified in tracking, obedience, building searches, narcotics and other searches.

Thome said if Reno has a scent he can search for suspects in a burglary or people with dementia who have wandered away.

“He’s a great ambassador to the community and the police department,” Rosebohm said.

Reno is the department’s second K-9. The department’s first K-9 team was Sean O’Neill and Ranger. Ranger died from cancer complications in 2012 and the department, knowing the necessity for another K-9 officer, put in for another dog. Rosebohm said it is a lengthy process to get another K-9. Ranger’s partner was promoted to investigations since Ranger’s death.

Rosebohm said Reno is a “hard worker,” noting that he assists in more than 100 arrests or citations annually.

But Thome said that while his partner enjoys work, he also has an affinity for people. Reno enjoys when people pet him.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at