Northern Regional Police honor corporal, local dog

Sean Philip Cotter

Northern York County Regional Police this week honored one of their own, whose quick actions saved a life, and a crime-fighting pooch who, despite being only a civilian, helped officers catch a robbery suspect.

On Oct. 5, a woman burst into the station, choking on an apple she'd been eating as she happened to be driving near the department on Canal Road in Dover Township. She couldn't talk, but made it clear she couldn't breathe, said Chief Mark Bentzel.

Luckily for her, the chief said, Cpl. Jeffrey Foust was at his desk in the station; he jumped up, went out into the lobby and used the Heimlich maneuver on her until she dislodged the apple.

Cpl. Jeffrey Foust

Foust has been a police officer for three decades, Bentzel said, so he's well-versed in first aid and CPR training.

"He's probably been through this training literally 30 times," the chief said.

The department honored him with an award saying he'd saved her life.

Diesel: The other honoree was a bit furrier.

Bentzel said Diesel the dog's jaws kept a robbery suspect from getting away unnoticed — the four-legged Dover Township resident grabbed onto Michael Alan Sweeney's sweatshirt as the alleged robber tried to make an escape through the pooch's yard. Police say Diesel held Sweeney up for long enough for the dog's owner to get a good look at the suspect.

So Bentzel both literally and figuratively threw him a bone. The department gave his owners a certificate honoring Diesel for his crime fighting, and the chief gave the pooch a dog bone and some snacks, donated by the White Dog Bone Co. and the K9 Granola Factory.

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Bentzel said Diesel seemed to enjoy very much coming in to the station and getting some treats, and that the crime fighter was a good boy.

"He was very well-behaved," the chief said.

According to charging documents, Sweeney robbed the Dollar General Store located at 4911 Carlisle Road in Dover Township of $369.28 with what ended up being a toy gun, and then he ran away through Tim Luckenbaugh's yard to get to a getaway vehicle — that's was when the dog started chasing him, police said.

After having his sleeve nipped by Diesel, Sweeney broke free and jumped into the passenger side of a waiting van, parked in Luckenbaugh's driveway, documents state.

Luckenbaugh went over to the van and confronted Sweeney, who apologized for trespassing as he pointed his gun at the man, police said. Luckenbaugh slapped the gun out of Sweeney's hand, according to documents. It broke apart when it hit the ground, which is when Luckenbaugh realized it was a toy pellet gun, police said. The van then took off, heading north on Carlisle Road. Thanks to the description and then more information from the store employees, police focused on Sweeney as a suspect and then tracked him down.

Northern York County  Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel gives Diesel the dog a bone for the pooch's crimefighting efforts.

The chief was glad to spotlight the dog's contribution.

"Something like that is very neat," Bentzel said

— Reach Sean Cotter