Columbiana K-9 team excels at state police and fire games

Columbiana K-9 Csuti and his handler, Bryan Granchie, earned top spots at the Ohio Police and Fire Games in Canton recently. (Photo courtesy the Columbiana Police Department)

COLUMBIANA — The city’s K-9 team is continuing to prove its worth, earning top spots in the Ohio Police and Fire Games held in Canton recently.

According to the results posted online, K-9 Csuti and his handler Bryan Granchie came in first place in three categories and second place in a fourth category. Columbiana and Salem were the only police departments in Columbiana County to earn medals in the games that were held over two days.

Csuti and Granchie earned gold medals for residential building search, with a time of just over 8 seconds; narcotics detection inside a building, with a time of just over 1 minute 15 seconds; and narcotics detection in vehicles, with a time of just over 2 minutes 20 seconds.

The team earned a silver medal in the tactical skills category, with a time of just over 3 minutes. It was their first time competing in the games.

Salem K-9 team Argo and handler Steve LaRose earned a silver medal in the article searches category, with a time of 59 seconds.

The Ohio Police and Fire Games is a non-profit organization for the purpose of supporting the physical and mental fitness of the state’s active and retired law enforcement and firefighters.

According to its website, www.ohiopoliceandfiregames.org, the games are open to all first responders, which includes law enforcement, firefighters, and military, in addition to spouses and support staff who are eligible to compete.

“I would say this validates the faith we have in the capabilities of our K-9 team and the value they bring to our HEAT program. The city is safer because of their efforts,” Police Chief Tim Gladis said.

The HEAT program was introduced in the city last year and stands for Hometown Enforcement Against Trafficking. The intelligence-led policing program focuses on drug, human stolen goods trafficking.

Gladis said he would like to thank everyone who donated to help make the K-9 unit possible.

Csuti and Granchie began patrolling last year after the department was able to raise the roughly $60,000 in donations necessary to acquire the male German shepherd that was imported from Hungary.

Csuti (pronounced Soo-tee) means “Caution!” and excelling in his appointed tasks is nothing new. When he was first introduced to the public Gladis said that Csuti finished first in all of the training categories he had to go through at the specialized kennel before he came to Columbiana.

Starting a K-9 unit in the city was Granchie’s idea and he was optimistic the funds could be raised successfully. A year later, that idea is proving its worth — in gold.

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