- Mark Wilson American-Statesman Staff
A police dog that took down a man accused of fatally shooting a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on Thanksgiving Day found his home at the Waller County sheriff’s office with the help of a former University of Texas football champion.
Odin and his handler, Deputy Andrew Blauser, were thrown into a massive search Nov. 23 for 32-year-old Dabrett Black, who authorities said fired a rifle at trooper Damon Allen, a 41-year-old father of two with 15 years of experience with the DPS.
The shooting happened about 3:45 p.m. during a traffic stop on Interstate 45 in Freestone County, east of Waco.
Allen died at the scene, and the suspect took off in a Chevrolet Malibu toward Waller County, authorities said.
When deputies found Black in Waller County that evening, Odin ran him down.
The sheriff’s office published a post on social media saying that shots had been fired after they found Black, and urged area residents to stay clear. By 8:46 p.m., the man had been taken into custody, the sheriff’s office said.
Odin had only been with the sheriff’s office for a couple of months. He had recently been given to the department by K9s4COPs, a foundation dedicated to outfitting law enforcement agencies with highly trained dogs.
K9s4COPs founder Kristi Schiller started the program about seven years ago, and has provided nearly 200 dogs to agencies across the United States, and even in France.
“This time a year ago, when the bombing happened at the concert in Paris — they had a suicide bomber there and the dog perished during the explosion — I reached out to the ambassador and they fast-tracked it to make sure they had the dog. We named it Liberty,” Schiller said.
She said dogs like Odin, a dual-purpose K9, usually cost between $15,000 and $20,000. But others can cost around $50,000 depending upon their specialty. Initial training can run upwards of $7,000.
Schiller said her organization collects private donations or partners with other charitable organizations to provide dogs that can sniff out drugs, electronics, explosives or human remains.
When Brian Robison, a member of the 2005 National Champion Texas Longhorns team, heard about K9s4COPs, he immediately decided to get involved.
Robison now plays for the Minnesota Vikings, but when he isn’t playing football, he’s fishing. He started a charity of his own in 2015 called the Reel ’em In Foundation, which raises money through fishing tournaments with NFL stars. The defensive end came across K9s4COPs while he was looking for charities he wanted to work with.
Robison said his dad was a police officer in Houston for 29 years, so helping the law enforcement community was right up his alley. Last year, his organization raised more than $100,000 for K9s4COPs.
He said Schiller texted him shortly after trooper Allen died to tell him that the dog who caught the suspect was one of his.
“I was so humbled by it,” Robison said. “Me and my wife are very humbled that we are in a place to impact our communities in that way. I feel like this is the best way we can do it.”
Robison said he hopes his foundation can raise $250,000 for K9s4COPs through fishing tournaments in 2018. The first is scheduled for March 29 through March 31 in East Texas. The second will be held on the Mississippi River in Minnesota in June.