Chase bites again: Police K-9 out of service after attacking officer’s leg

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Joseph Homza and his K9 partner Chase demonstrate how the dog works for the police department for children in the fourth grade program at Kistler Elementary during a field trip by students earlier this summer. Chase has been taken off duty after biting an officer on Tuesday. -

WILKES-BARRE — Returned to service in mid-July after a six month hiatus for retraining after biting an officer, a city police K-9 bit another policeman during an incident on North Hancock Street.

Chase bit Officer Shane Smith in the leg during a search, Tuesday afternoon, several city police officers said, with Smith requiring medical treatment as a result.

City Administrator Ted Wampole confirmed the dog was taken out of service due to the bite.

“Chase is currently off the street until we do a review of the incident,” Wampole said.

Smith and other officers, including Chase’s handler, Officer Joseph Homza, were at 60 N. Hancock St. for a burglary at about 4:30 p.m. Police quickly learned several suspects were inside the house as officers set up a perimeter.

Police said Yusuf Hasaan Wright, 39, jumped out a window and was chased by the canine, Homza and other officers to an empty lot where he was arrested.

Smith was bitten as Wright jumped out the window, several officers said.

Previous incident

Chase, a German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix, was reactivated July 19 after Mayor Tony George ordered the canine to be taken out of service in January, following the dog’s biting of a police officer during an arrest. During the hiatus, Chase and Homza underwent retraining at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center’s Law Enforcement K9 Training Division in Philadelphia.

Police Commander Joseph Coffay confirmed Wednesday that Chase was “not on duty today.”

Coffay said the injured officer suffered lacerations to his lower leg and has been released from a local hospital. The acting chief said he didn’t know if the injured officer is able to return to work until he speaks with him.

The review, Wampole said, will look at what happened and whether the dog or the officer is responsible for the bite.

Arrest made

Police ended up arresting Brian Kwashink, 38, Mark Naples, 39, and Alissa Wright, 28, all of Wilkes-Barre, from the North Hancock Street residence on criminal trespass charges. They were arraigned Tuesday night by District Judge Ferris Webby in Wright Township and all released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

Wright was charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was also charged on a warrant from Wilkes-Barre Township police in connection to a traffic stop on Highland Park Boulevard on June 1, when he passed out while operating a vehicle and drifted into traffic, court records say.

Wright was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $37,500 total bail.

Joseph Homza and his K9 partner Chase demonstrate how the dog works for the police department for children in the fourth grade program at Kistler Elementary during a field trip by students earlier this summer. Chase has been taken off duty after biting an officer on Tuesday.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/web1_TTL072518Police2CMYK-1.jpgJoseph Homza and his K9 partner Chase demonstrate how the dog works for the police department for children in the fourth grade program at Kistler Elementary during a field trip by students earlier this summer. Chase has been taken off duty after biting an officer on Tuesday.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]