Good dog: K-9 ‘Max’ makes his first catch

Published 1:35 pm Friday, July 20, 2018

A police chase of a stolen vehicle ended with a handcuffed suspect and a broad doggy grin by the victorious K-9 “Max” of the Clanton Police Department on July 19.

Max, along with partner Capt. David Clackley and Lt. Erick Smitherman, assisted in the Alabama Department of Public Safety trooper pursuit of the theft suspect, who had fled on foot into the woods after his vehicle crashed in Coosa County.

It was Max’s first live fetch for human odor since his training, according to CPD.

The K-9 traced a trail of flung incriminating items — a “significant quantity” of meth, according to a CPD press release.

“Max followed the track and located the suspect hiding in the bushes a few hundred yards from the scene of the crash,” the release reads.

Clackley said Smitherman found Max poking his nose repeatedly at the back of the suspect’s head as the man hunkered in the bushes.

The subject, identified as 25-year-old Chase Alexander Hardwick, was taken into custody and charged with first-degree buying/receiving stolen property, possession of dangerous drugs, attempting to elude law enforcement officers, reckless endangerment and numerous traffic violations.

A handgun was later found inside the stolen vehicle, issuing an additional charge of felon in possession of a firearm.

Max was rewarded beef tips “for a job well done,” according to CPD.

A German-bred German Shepherd, Max is certified in narcotics detection and is in training to assist in locating human odor.

The K-9 is best known for his popularity with local children at community events.

“I’m glad we did it,” Clackley said after the July 19 chase, explaining that Max’s training is primarily focused on finding individuals who may be lost, versus on-the-run suspects.

“But chasing bad guys is fun too,” Clackley said.