CPD’s Bridges, Gosh compete in New York

Marianne Gillespie
Chillicothe K-9 Officer Nick Bridges and Gosh search for narcotics in a vehicle during the World Police and Fire Games in New York City Aug. 30.

K-9 Officer Nick Bridges beams with almost fatherly pride when he talks about his furry partner, Gosh, calling him the “best dog” in recounting their recent activities.

“I think he’s the best dog in the area, but I wanted to see the other dogs,” said Bridges about their trip to New York City for the World Police and Fire Games. He found the games by looking online for competitions.

He applied for himself and 4-year-old Gosh to compete in the narcotic portion of K-9 games, doing building, luggage and vehicle searches.

Bridges decided he needed a little help in navigating, so he enlisted the help of dispatcher Matt Adams with only 20 minutes notice.

Bridges, Adams and the German shepherd made the 16-hour trip to the Big Apple by vehicle, and realized they were not in Chillicothe anymore, especially when it came to getting around town. Bridges did the driving and Adams the navigating.

“Lines on the road don’t mean anything,” said Bridges about the streets. Gosh was unfazed by the three days in New York City, Bridges said, acting like he was back home.

“What I like about Gosh is that he has that perfect temperament,” Bridges said, noting that Gosh not only does his job, but is easy-going around children or other civilians.

They explored some of the city’s hotspots during their stay, checking out Times Square, ground zero, Central Park and the Lennon memorial.

Gosh walked around those areas in his police vest, and he and his handler were popular with residents — they wanted to have their photo taken with the Chillicothe duo.

The real work, though, came Aug. 30 for the competition, which was held at Fort Totten, a former military base now used for police and fire training.

The dogs were timed as to how fast they found the narcotics. Gosh found all the items, but he did not place in the top three of a group of 20 dogs competing in the narcotics work. No other places were given out, Bridges said. Gosh faced stiff competition with the customs dogs.

The dogs in the competition came from around the United States and Canada.

Gosh normally does not search luggage, but he and Bridges trained for that portion of the competition.

Bridges said he was appreciative of the support he received from then Chillicothe Police Chief Steve Maurer and City Hall. The Chillicothe Fraternal Order of Police donated $500 to assist him in making the trip and the city paid the entrance fees to the games, around $250.

It has been about a year since Bridges and Gosh teamed up. The city’s first K-9 dog, Konan, died in the summer of 2010, leaving a void until Gosh joined the department. Sgt. Rich Mark, now acting police chief, was Konan’s handler after officer Brent Cranford left the department.

Mark opted to go to the day shift, leaving the opportunity for Bridges to become the K-9 officer, who wanted to be a K-9 officer. The duo works third shift and as needed.

During the last year, the team has tracked people, conducted building searches, detected drugs and assisted other agencies when called.

“He’s paid for himself so far,” Bridges said about Gosh’s findings.

Their next competition could be next summer for the Canadian-American games in Minnesota where Bridges wants to enter Gosh into the obedience and handler protection categories.

Bridges and Gosh are somewhat different than many K-9 duos because Bridges also has patrol shifts whereas other departments do not. If he has some down time on a shift, he and Gosh can get a little training in.

“I think I have the best dog,” said Bridges with a smile.