Bremerton Police dog Tabor has been hunting suspects in
Kitsap County since 2001.
His handler’s been doing it for three decades.
On Friday, Brian Johnson, a longtime master patrol officer, said goodbye to his colleagues. Retiring with him is Tabor, a German Shepherd that’s developed a reputation for being relentless.
Johnson handled K9s Chase and Jake four years each before taking on Tabor for the past nine years.
His dogs’ successes may have a lot to do with their own abilities, but there’s no substitute for a good handler, says Billy Renfro, Johnson’s sergeant on the third watch, otherwise known as graveyard shift.
At his retirement Friday, Bremerton Police Chief Craig Rogers praised Johnson for being one of the officers that assured him the streets at night would be safe. A longtime graveyard officer, Johnson was one of those souls that functioned best in the dead of night.
Rogers said he never received any complaints about Johnson, who did his job with “little oversight and supervision.”
Here are Renfro’s own words about Johnson and Tabor:
“Although PD Tabor is an outstanding K9, I think a lot of it has to do with Brian’s approach to being a handler, and quite frankly “listening” to what Tabor is saying during the track. Brian’s approach is pretty low key and he doesn’t let obstacles such as time delays, heavy foot and/or vehicle traffic in the area become deterrents. He simply puts Tabor out and does a great job of reading him.
I specifically recall one track of an armed robbery suspect in the downtown area. It was raining out and there was heavy vehicle traffic. The track went for almost an hour when Brian told me that he was going back to work an area where he saw “Tabor” show some interest. Lo and behold, “Tabor” located the suspect hiding in a back yard. I have witnessed similar tracks time and time again, and I know I speak for Third Watch and others at BPD that Brian and “Tabor” will be greatly missed.”