From animal shelter to crime fighter, K9 officer gets second shot at life

BEL-RIDGE, MO (KPLR) – A police officer with an unusual pedigree is getting a second shot at life.

K9 Officer Luke went from living in a shelter, just days away from being euthanized, to becoming a star crime fighter.

The narcotics and tracking dog is newest member of the Bel-Ridge Police Department. And in a short period of time, the yellow-white Labrador is making his mark.

“He made seven drug busts in less than a month and a half of working the road with me,” his handler, Officer Joel Fields, said.

K9 Luke’s story is a compelling one. He came from a shelter in Austin, Texas on track to being euthanized. Officer Fields came across a grant for veterans and police officers, and was accepted.

“The program basically takes shelter dogs and makes them into police K9,” Fields said. “They saw potential in him, so they took him from the shelter, put him through a training program for narcotics and tracking, certified him.”

Fields also went through specialized training.

“Because he’s already trained, it’s me that’s the problems,” he said.

At only 18 months old at shy of 70 pounds, K9 Luke has a lot of room to grow.

As for those big drug busts near the interstate, does K9 Luke get a promotion?

“His promotion is an extra bowl of dog food,” his handler said.

The department is selling t-shirts to raise money to cover the costs of equipment and food for K9 Luke.

Dad takes son who is on a wheelchair to the skate park

WEST VALLEY CITY – A West Valley City dad is gaining internet fame after he gave his wheelchair bound son the ride of his life at a skate park.

The touching video of Phil Van Hise pushing his 5-year-old son Callen in a wheelchair at the West Valley City Skate Park was posted on his wife’s Facebook this week, and it’s been a big hit with more than 40,000 views.

“It’s not to say, ‘Hey, look what I can do as a dad,'” Van Hise said. “It’s what he can do.”

Callen is their “miracle baby.” He was born premature and diagnosed with Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy. He has challenges with balance and coordination and is going to speech therapy.

“He can communicate well,” Van Hise said. “He can read like crazy. He’s at the top of his class in Kindergarten.”

The message he’s been sending to mom and dad lately is he likes the skate park–a whole lot!

“His reaction is what’s worth it,” Van Hise said. “I don’t care if I’m about ready to die or have exhaustion from that. His joy is what matters.”

Callen’s mom Paula says, just because his body works differently, that doesn’t mean he can’t participate in the activities he chooses.

“The first time we came, I cried,” she said.

She’s grateful others made him feel right at home.

“Everyone here was so awesome about it,” Paula Van Hise said. “It was really busy, and they would stop and let him through and cheer him on.”

A lot of people are cheering on dad too. Paula says he’ll do anything to put a smile on their only child’s face.

“He couldn’t breathe first time he did it, but he did it anyways,” she said.

But that isn’t stopping this father.

“I’ll do it every day if I have to,” Philip Van Hise said.

The video has touched a lot of people. A woman from California told Paula she is going to use the video to convince her community to build an all-abilities playground.

88-year-old Indiana man makes blankets for police to give to children

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. – It started off as a hobby his wife enjoyed, and now Clayton Shelburne is making blankets on his own after her death.

The 88-year-old Indiana man has already made several dozen blankets, supplying enough for one to go with every patrol car with the Zionsville Police Department and the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“I just felt there was a need,” Shelburne told WXIN.  He said he remembered one story about a father leaving his sleeping son in a broken-down vehicle along a highway while the father went to get help.

Police said the blankets would go a long way.

“We could show up to a crash and the weather could be like it is now where it’s nice and cold and that blanket will come in real handy when you wrap it around somebody in need,” said Sgt. Adrian Martin of the Zionsville Police Department.

Shelburne said his wife first started making blankets with a camping club, which would donate the blankets to different organizations in the area. Clayton joined in and the couple made blankets together for about ten years.

“She was the seamstress,” he said. “I was never a seamstress. This is a new ballgame because I was always an outside person.”

“My time is nothing,” said Shelburne. “I’m 88 years old, I can do this when it’s raining outside and I enjoy doing it. I’m sure if my wife was here she would be happy I’m doing this too.”

Shelburne decided to help police in his county after talking with his son, who is an officer in Zionsville.

“For an individual, a civilian for that matter, to take it upon themselves to not only take their time and invest their money and their personal stake into a product or event that benefits any law enforcement agency, particularly Zionsville, we appreciate that,” Martin said.

Shelburne plans to make more when police run out and is already making new batches for the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. He already has a dozen ready to go.

“I may have bitten off more than I can chew,” said a laughing Shelburne. “I’m going to keep doing it as long as I got some money to make blankets, and I’m sure there’s a need for it over there.”

Shelburne said he spends very little of his own money making the blankets. Most of the funds come from friends, family and others who hear about his work and want to contribute.