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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
The COPS Office is pleased to feature the Bradenton (Florida) Police Department as the June 2020 winner of the Community Policing in Action Photo Contest. The winning photo shows Bradenton Officer K.B. Magown at a National Night Out event with K-9 partner Maverick.
Bradenton (Florida) Police Department’s (BPD) Officer K.B. Magown and his K-9 partner Maverick are welcome guests at almost any event, but were especially so in August 2019, as Mary Greenleaf celebrated her 102nd birthday in the Highland Lakes Community Clubhouse.
It was National Night Out, an annual event which brings law enforcement officers together with their communities to socialize and get to know each other better. Taking part in the activities with several other BPD officers, Magown and Maverick joined the mayor and a town council member at the Highland Lakes Community clubhouse to meet and mingle with local residents.
Recalling the evening, Magown says “I was walking around with Maverick explaining what we do as a K-9 team, when somebody said: ‘You should meet our birthday girl, Mary Greenleaf. She’s an animal lover.’ So I led Maverick to her, and she was delighted. As she petted him, he put his face close to hers. He knew she loves dogs.”
And according to Magown, Maverick loves people too. “He’s not a “bite dog,” he says, explaining that unlike K-9s trained to apprehend suspects, Maverick’s quarry is explosives. “He’s a bomb sniffer, so he’s not aggressive, and really likes being around people.”
Says Magown, “We’re mostly called out to check suspicious packages. But we also work the Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring training games in Bradenton, sweeping the stadium to make sure nothing is there. We work all major events in the area, including Tampa’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival, and are on the list to work the 2021 Super Bowl too. “
Asked how many bombs Maverick has detected since they started working together in 2018, Magown laughs. “None—the only ones he’s ever found are the ones I hid for training purposes. We’ve been lucky.” But they don’t rely on luck to continue keeping the area safe. Maverick and his K-9 partner train together daily, and Maverick is certified as a bomb detector dog by the United States Police Canine Association.
This hardworking bomb-sniffing professional is also very sociable. “People often ask if they can pet him, says Magown, “and he’s always happy to let them. He’s been a social ice breaker for me as a law enforcement officer. A lot of conversations have started this way.”
One that made a lasting impression was with an elderly baseball fan at a spring training game. “I saw her there a lot, but she always kept her distance. One day, she said ‘I’m afraid of your dog.’ I acknowledged that, but told her he’s gentle.”
“By the fourth game, she came closer, saying that she had always been afraid of police too and was once bitten by a police dog. But she wanted to try petting Maverick anyway. She reached out shyly and he responded in a friendly way. We had a good talk, and she said it changed her outlook.”
Though they work all the large events, Magown and Maverick are most frequently seen in Bradenton’s business district where they regularly patrol in a downtown unit. “We work closely with this community, and if anybody has a problem, they call me or Officer Nuttall, who also patrols the area. We gave out our personal cell phone numbers, and if anybody calls when we’re off duty, we alert the department to send out an officer.”
This commitment to personal service is characteristic of the BPD, which adopted a community policing approach in the early 2000s under former Chief Michael Radzilowski, a strategy then credited with reducing the crime rate by 69 percent. Today’s chief, Melanie Bevan, has built on Radzilowski’s approach, increasing community engagement through strategies such as increased presence at neighborhood meetings and a “Walkin’ the Beat” program.
It was these programs that brought Magown and Maverick to Mary Greenleaf’s birthday party and the streets of downtown Bradenton—programs that Magown is very enthusiastic about. “I love what I do,” he says. “It’s a real pleasure working with Maverick and the people in our community.”
Written with contributions from BPD Officer K.B. Magown.
Sr. Technical Writer
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