MANCHESTER, CT- You’ve heard of K-9 officers. But this new addition announced by the Manchester, Connecticut police department is a bit… different.
MPD announced that effective Wednesday morning, they’re welcoming a new addition to the agency – and it’s a cat. A big, big cat.
“Saber” has been in training with K9 Handler Officer Rob Johnson, also known as “Rojo”, for about six months.
Because Bengals and Siberian tigers are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the tigers bred in America are considered “mutts” produced through inbreeding, and the sale of the tigers isn’t federally regulated.
“We actually don’t know the lineage of Saber,” said Lt. Ryan Shea, spokesman for Manchester PD. “Tigers bread in America can be a mix of Sumatran, Bengal, Amur, South China, etc.”
Manchester Police received the grant in early 2019 from the Department of Justice, which covered the $3,000 cost of acquiring the animal along with an additional $47,000 to train and house the animal.
The annual food costs – in excess of $10,000 – were covered through a generous four-year donation by Law Enforcement Today, the largest law enforcement news network in America.
“I thought our National Spokesman Kyle Reyes eats a lot” said Captain Robert Greenberg, the founder of Law Enforcement Today who has been active in law enforcement for more than 30 years.
“I mean, really – you should see the bill he racks up when we go out to eat. But he’s got nothing on Saber.”
When asked about the more than $10,000 a year that LET is going to have to “eat” to pay for Saber’s chow, he simply shrugged it off.
“I enjoy a good rib eye steak as well,” said Reyes. “Young tigers like us have to eat.”
At first, people thought it was all a joke. After all – who would think that a police department would bring a cat into the agency? But it turns out that ownership in the animals is growing nationwide.
And it’s thanks, in part, to a new docu-series that brought to light the fact that tigers are actually legal to own in most states.
“People just started taking an interest in tigers because of some new show on Netflix I guess,” said Officer Johnson.
“I’m more of a Hulu guy myself, so I don’t know much about that. All I know is that we’ve been training my new partner for almost a year and she’s nearly ready to go on the road.”
Is she dangerous?
Well, that depends – are you a good guy or a bad guy?
“She’s a big pussycat,” said Officer Johnson. “She loves to cuddle – we actually had to get a California King size bed because she’s constantly climbing into it. The key is in not letting her get hangry.”
That “hanger” is actually a secret weapon.
“The zoologists and the Department of Justice Field Training Manual actually suggested depriving her of meat for six hours before a drug raid,” said Officer Johnson.
“Hartford’s SWAT team brought Saber in and made the mistake of depriving her for seven hours – the end result wasn’t pretty.”
After the raid, Saber was tested for drug exposure but came back with a clean bill of health.
“Her growl is definitely not worse than her bite,” said Lt. Shea.
But she fits right in at the agency.
“She’s going to make a welcome addition to the family at the Manchester Police Department, where we have a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and criminals in our area.”
As far as what the future holds for her handler?
“What can I say? There’s a new Tiger King in town, and it’s Officer ‘Rojo Exotic’ Johnson.”
Lt. Shea offered us a behind-the-scenes look at the training on Wednesday morning. For some reason, it was a little… glitchy. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was on April 1…
It’s not the first time the Manchester, Connecticut police department has teamed up with Law Enforcement Today to bring a smile to America. Although last April, unlike this April fool’s joke, the agency made national headlines for a different reason.
It happened when they swore in a cop’s kid as a police officer before an upcoming surgery she had. (Video of the visit and the swearing in can be found at the bottom of the article.)
In case you missed it… here was that story.
Manchester Police Department in Connecticut got a brand-new addition to their team today. But she’s a bit younger than a typical recruit.
In fact, there’s not much that is typical about the life of 11-year-old Emerson Oliveri.
Doctors called her a ‘miracle child.’ They didn’t expect her to live, and so every moment that her parents got to spend with her was a gift.
Amazingly enough, her strong spirit pushed through and her condition improved.
Right from the get-go, Emmie has faced battle after battle. She’s undergone numerous surgeries, and is now facing another. She’s going to have to have a couple of major surgeries this summer.
Her father, Joshua Oliveri, is a police officer and a proud member of Brothers Before Others, a 501c3 that donates flowers to the funerals of police officers. Law Enforcement Today is proud to be partnered with this incredible organization.
In October, Josh and other members of BBO visited the Law Enforcement Today studio in Manchester, Connecticut. In that studio, which is run by The Silent Partner Marketing, is The Whiskey Wall.
Active and retired emergency responders and veterans bring a bottle of whiskey to the wall, where they sit and share a cocktail with our National Spokesman, Kyle Reyes, on our show Behind the Uniforms.
They talk about a good day on the job and a lousy day on the job. Then their name goes on the bottle and the bottle goes on the wall.
Josh and his wife, Stacie, knowing the road that lies ahead for Emmie, reached out and asked if we’d be willing to tell their family’s story on the show before the surgery.
What they didn’t know is that our family at Law Enforcement Today decided to call on some brothers and sisters in blue to give Emmie an incredible gift.
When Emmie woke up Thursday morning, she knew she was traveling to Connecticut to film a very special episode of Behind the Uniforms. She emulates her police officer father and always wanted to be a cop, herself. But when she got to the studio and began filming, a few unexpected guests showed up.
In the middle of her interview, dozens of officers from local towns came through the door with a special gift.
Emmie was presented a custom made Manchester Police uniform, hat, challenge coins, a commemorative plaque and more. As she put on her new blues, she was asked to raise her right hand to take her oath, officially being sworn in as a law enforcement officer.
Emmie’s parents were smiling ear to ear as their daughter posed with everyone who came to support her.
“I knew that some officers were coming to see Emmie,” her dad, Joshua said. “Kyle let me in on that secret. But I was blown away by the amount that actually showed. There had to have been at least 30 guys.”
Officers from Enfield, South Windsor, C.R.E.S.T. SWAT as well as the State Capitol Police all made the trip out to The Silent Partner Marketing office for the surprise.
Officer Emmie shared cake with her new friends, sat patiently through a handful of interviews and bright lights, and then was able to head down to the parking lot to play with the lights and sirens of a squad car.
“We are blessed to work with some of the biggest and most patriotic brands in America,” said Kyle Reyes, CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing and National Spokesman for Law Enforcement Today.
“But you can sell all of the widgets in the world and it won’t make you feel like this.”
He said sometimes business is about much more than making money.
“Emmie and her family will remember today for the rest of their lives,” said Reyes. “People will see this video and share this story and tell their friends about how incredible all of these cops were. We run our company with faith, family and freedom at the forefront of everything we do. And today, we got to do good. Today, we got to show the faces of LEOs that people don’t often get to see.”
We wish Emmie and her family the best of luck through her surgery and recovery.
Congratulations Officer Emmie! We’ve got your six…
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