McGruff the Crime Dog talks about taking a bite out of crime.

Casper K-9 Patrick up and did it.

Monday, Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel honored K-9 Patrick and his partner Officer Seth Wheeler, and dozens of other officers and civilians at their annual awards ceremony at the Casper Events Center.

The Patrick-Wheeler team went to work on the morning of Aug. 12, when the Public Safety Communications Center, commonly known as dispatch, received a call about an armed male who aimed a gun at people in the parking lot of Ridley’s Family Market, 300 SE Wyoming Blvd., Wetzel said.

Officers approached the subject, later identified as Doyle Gabbert wanted on weapons charges, who fled in a vehicle traveling west on East Second Street. They positioned themselves to stop the vehicle, but it pulled into the parking lot of Hobby Lobby, 2911 E. Second St., where Gabbert didn't comply with commands to stop. He ran to the nearby Hilltop Storage, scaled a fence, and stole a van.

Officers, including Wheeler, from numerous agencies joined the subsequent high-speed westbound chase on East Second Street.

During the chase. Gabbert drove the van into Wheeler's cruiser, forcing him off the road but not off the chase, Wetzel said.

Gabbert turned north on Center Street and crashed the van in north Casper. From there, he ran south on an alley to the Loaf ‘n’ Jug store, 933 N. Center St., where he tried to steal a Coca-Cola semi-truck.

Wheeler and K-9 Patrick approached Gabbert, who by now was in the truck's cab.

Gabbert still refused to surrender.

"Officer Wheeler wrestled the driver's door open and deployed K-9 Patrick who engaged the suspect and pulled him from the vehicle," Wetzel said.

In other words, K-9 Patrick bit Gabbert, who was taken to the Wyoming Medical Center and treated for his wound. Last week, Gabbert pleaded guilty to his involvement in a local methamphetamine conspiracy. He still faces other charges.

"Officer Wheeler's and K-9 Patrick's finely honed partnership and instinctive teamwork effected the successful arrest and removal of a dangerous criminal from the community," Wetzel said.

The partners received distinguished service medals for their heroism that day when no one, besides Gabbert, was injured.

Some of those honored, however, dealt with much more tragic situations, such as the other distinguished service medal recipient Mills Police Officer Jake Bigelow, who returned fire during a shooting in the 100 block of North Fenway Street on June 21. Bigelow was cleared in his role in the shooting death of Jeffrey Hyde.

Casper Police Department Patrol Team 2 also was honored for its work in that event.

Patrol Team 4 was honored for its work in its investigation of a disturbance at a house on South Lincoln Street on Nov. 22 where a group of young people allegedly took LSD. One of them, Logan Martz, died a few days later.

Other officers were honored for their work dealing with the brutal rape of a 4-year-old girl allegedly by Brandtly Bedsaul, who is scheduled to go on trial in March.

The awards ceremony also highlighted the behind-the-scenes work at the communications center including coaching callers to perform CPR, those who do tedious investigative and analytical work, officers and civilians whose efforts save lives, those who train officers, and those who keep the books and maintain the vehicles and weapons.


These are the categories of the awards and the winners:

Officer of the Year: Colten Carpenter.

Detective of the Year: Sara Nelson.

Sergeant of the Year: Ryan Dabney.

Training Officer of the Year: Shannon Cole.

Public Safety Communications Center Employee of the Year: Sarah Winter.

Civilian Employee of the Year: Erica Ketchum.

Community Partner of the Year: Crisis Intervention Team Committee.

Meritorious Achievement Medal: Sgt. Lyle Berg, Natrona County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Sheets.

Distinguished Service Medal: Seth Wheeler and K-9 Patrick, Mills Police Officer Jake Bigelow.

Life Saving Medal: Mary Frank, Lori Jackson, Jacci Warne.

Citizen Life Saving Medal: Louis Isais, Alice Isais.

Citizen Meritorious Service Citation: Unnamed Casper citizens who raised money for the Casper Police Department's program to hand out Christmas cards containing money to strangers.

Unit Commendation Bar: Patrol Team 2, Patrol Team 4.

Certificate of Merit: Alyssa Baedke, Cindy Randel, Mark Raynor, Robin Tuma, Marla Tuma.

Certificate of Commendation: Tiffany Elhardt, Shannon Daley, Jeremy Tiller, Aaron Trujillo, Anthony Stedillie, Mitch Baker, John Hatcher, Emily Anthony, Kelle Burger, John Benardis, Mary Frank, Heidi Gehlhaar, Lori Jackson, Greg Kellogg, Erin Tower, Stephanie Waldrop, Jessica Weiss, Sarah Winter, Vickie Van Norman, Brittney Bates, Amy Johnson, Jeremy Yates, Shannon Cole, Craig Morrison, Josh Albrecht, Luke Iselin, Chris Beekman, Scott Cogdill, Todd Wells, Jack Fetter, Craig Burns, Adrian White.