Clarksville, Indiana, Police Officer Thomas Bamforth and his K-9 partner, Argo, are being awarded the Medal of Valor by the National American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) for their bravery during a pursuit and arrest of a suspect who fled during a traffic stop late last year.
Argo was hit by a car during the chase, but continued the pursuit. He was eventually able to latch onto the suspect’s leg, preventing him from climbing over a fence to escape and enabling officers to make the arrest. Argo suffered minor injuries and took some time off to recover after the incident, returning to work a few weeks later.
Master Trainer Rick Ashanbraner, who works with police K-9s across the U.S., nominated the pair for the award. The Medal of Valor is “one of the highest honors” given to police K-9s, officials say, second only to the medal presented to K-9s killed in the line of duty.
“I’m beyond proud of Argo and what he has accomplished,” Bamforth said in a city press release. “I’m humbled that Argo and I will be receiving such a prestigious award.”
Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer noted that this was the first time the department has received national recognition for its K-9 unit, which has been particularly effective with narcotics detection.
“I could not be prouder! K-9 Officer Bamforth and Argo have been a great team that hit the ground running from the start,” Palmer said. “Numerous arrests involving narcotics made due to their proactive approach toward drugs. Knowing how both these officers approach police work, I am not surprised at the results of their hard work. What is good to see is that everyone else is getting to see the hard work this team does on a daily basis.”
The award will be presented to Bamforth and Argo at NAPWDA’s annual national training event in Missouri in April.