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OUT FOR A SPIN

Police dog riding motorcycle sidecar

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OUT FOR A SPIN

It's more thrills for Manteca Police canine "Spike" when he's off-duty and can go riding with his partner, Officer Grant Flory in the sidecar of his motorcycle. The goggles are to protect his eyes...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED January 20, 2009 1:49 a.m.
It was a rare sight — a goggle wearing, thrill seeking police canine riding in the sidecar of a Russian motorcycle on Ripon streets over the weekend.

Taking your dog for a walk is one thing but taking him along on a motorcycle ride is something special. When I first saw them Saturday they were riding down Vera Avenue and turning onto Van Court.

It’s quite a scene to see the Belgian Maliniois leaning out and around the front of the sidecar to see where they are headed — those goggles are to protect his eyes from wind burn.

It’s not new for “Spike” to come through Ripon on his way to work with Manteca canine officer Grant Flory.  When the weather is good they can be seen riding through town from the south for the day watch operation at the Manteca Police Department.

Officer Flory and his canine partner were paying me a visit at our home to give me a chance to take a few pictures for an upcoming feature on the history of the canine program in Manteca that dates back to the early ‘60s.

Ripon traffic sergeant Richard Kalebjian and motorcycle officer Stephen Meece stopped by our court to have a look and “Spike” responded to their uniforms and greeted them as only a loving police dog can — immediately recognizing the police car and the motorcycle as well.

“Spike” did catch the scent of our dog in the house and wanted in the front door to say hello — and Misty wanted out too.  But that didn’t happen.  “Spike” checked out all of the plants and bushes fertilizing a few of them while making his rounds.

The sidecar isn’t too large but it’s just right for the canine.  In fact when he decided he wanted to go — he’d been at the Kahl’s long enough — he leaped from the right rear of the sidecar and landed in his seat.

He wears a harness that is leashed to a connection in the floor of the sidecar for his protection.  There is enough room for him to put his two front paws on the small running board allowing him to peer around the side of the vehicle and check out the traffic ahead.  What a sight that must make in a rearview mirror.

The police canine and I have become pretty good friends with him always wanting to wash my ear when I’m responding to a call on my police beat coverage in Manteca.  He got his man twice last week — once in an attic where a parolee-at-large had hidden above the second floor in a Southside home.

As officers were wrestling with the fugitive in the attic above the second floor and “Spike” was biting him on the shoulder and armpit, the man and two officers fell through the wallboard ceiling to the staircase landing.  The police dog managed to separate himself from the three and remained on his feet.

In Manteca the police canines are not taught to be mean — it’s all a game to them — and they have fun and enjoy what they do.
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