Deputy Number Three

And The Promise

A Tribute To Washington County Deputy Rod Kinsey


Bonnie M. Wells

Monday, January 15th, 1990 - Martin Luther King Day:

There was a "party" in full swing at my house when Deputy Kinsey knocked on the door.

I was still laughing about something that someone had said when I opened the door and said, "Hi there, come on in."

And he did. He laid his clip board on the kitchen counter and began talking to the gang that was there.

Dave had just wrecked his Corvette as he attempted to get to our house and he was a little upset by the fact. Kinsey assured him he'd handle it.

"What are you cooking that smells so good?" the deputy asked.

"Spaghetti sauce," I replied. "We're having a spaghetti party!"

I threw some pretty wild parties back in those days! People would come from all directions to attend one of my "bean and ham hock" parties! Yeah, they were all dinner parties and there was always a gang that gathered in. Some my friends, some my husband's, some my daughter's friends. All ages. Many times my mother came as did some of the parents of other friends. There was never any drugs or alcoholic beverages at my parties. Just good food and good clean fun.

Deputy Kinsey interrupted himself in mid sentence .... "Do I hear puppies?"

"Yes, you do hear puppies," I replied. "Our Ginger has a litter downstairs in the kennel room."

The kennel room was situated directly below the kitchen so I wasn't surprised that we could hear the puppies that were a couple of weeks old and still in the whelping box at that time.

Ginger must have heard me say her name because the next thing I knew she was coming up the steps to greet me.

"Oh, she's a German Shepherd," Kinsey said. "Are her pups German Shepherd too?"

"I laughed, as did everyone who heard the question. I had about 25 head of AKC Registered German Shepherds on the property at that time because that's what I did back in the 1990's. I owned and operated Granville Shepherds, which was a breeding and training kennel for German Shepherd Dogs.

A Deputy's Love

Rod Kinsey followed Christina and half the people that were here that night down to the kennel room so he could see Ginger's pups.

"I'd give my eyeteeth for one of those pups," Kinsey said when he came back upstairs.

"Someone check the tooth box! I'm pretty sure I have enough eyeteeth to last an eternity!" I quipped.

Everyone laughed. I could always be counted on to come up with some smart-assed remark.

Rod Kinsey was here quite a while that night, and we did a lot of talking about "one of those pups." He wanted one so badly. I eventually told him that I would present the puppy as a gift to the sheriff's department so they could form a K-9 division because I foresaw a time when it would be a valuable asset to our area.

My donation would save the county several thousand dollars by providing a dog that otherwise would have to be purchased. The money could be used to train the deputy that handled the dog and to modify his cruiser to suit the dog.

Of course my dream was to have a complete K-9 breeding and training center in this area, and I wanted to see it built as an extension of the sheriff's department.

Kinsey liked my idea, but he said the sheriff would not even consider a K-9 division because he foresaw dirty cruisers and dog hair on uniforms that were always supposed to look nice.

Well hell, if clean uniforms and cruisers were the only problems, I'd round up some volunteers and we'd wash cruisers and uniforms for those cops! No problem.

Kinsey laughed .... and then he said something that chilled me to the bone....

"If we don't get some German Shepherd's pretty soon, someone's going to die. One of us is going to get killed in a situation that a few head of German Shepherds could prevent."

And Then He Was Gone

I agreed to present evidence to the sheriff that an active K-9 program could save lives, time and money. I also discussed the possibility of speaking before the Fraternal Order of Police in Marietta, on behalf of the merits of a strong K-9 program.... and on behalf of a cop who wanted a Shepherd worse than any one I'd ever seen.

I would have given that guy the entire litter.....and Ginger too ..... if the sheriff would have allowed him to have them.

He promised to "keep in touch" that night. He wanted to see those pups again when they were older and more "training" age. Most were already spoken for, but I didn't tell him that. I could always produce another litter if things worked out.

Parkersburg already had one of my dogs in its K-9 program. His handler was Officer George Fox and he called the dog Silver, although his registered name was Granvilles' Barroom Buddy! I'd always had a knack for knowing which dogs would be good for which jobs, and I named most of the dogs before they ever left my kennel. I figured Barroom Buddy was an excellent name for a dog that was destined to patrol the darkened streets, alleyways and bars of Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was destined to be the best "Buddy" any cop could have ever desired.

Silver is long gone now, and yet, to this day Officer Fox will tell anyone who will listen that he was the best K-9 dog that ever lived. Doubt my word? Just ask him.

I never got the opportunity to speak to the sheriff or to present my information to the Fraternal Order of Police .... or to do any of the things I'd thought of doing to encourage a K-9 program so Rod Kinsey could have a German Shepherd Dog by his side....

Because by mid April of 1990, Rod Kinsey had been killed in the line of duty in Noble County Ohio.

His words and my promise would haunt me for years to come. I'd promised him a German Shepherd Dog in that sheriff's department!

Now I wondered ..... does death nullify a promise? And even if it didn't, how was I to move an entire sheriff's department and get policy changes? I didn't have a clue.

The Promise Is Not Forgotten

Years dragged by. Few things changed. Eventually, we did get a new sheriff. At first I was excited about the change. Had high hopes .... that would soon be dashed into as many, if not more, pieces than any other hopes I'd ever had.

The new sheriff didn't seem any more interested in a K-9 unit than his predecessor ...... and especially in German Shepherds. It looked like a hopeless situation.

I never forgot my promise to Rod Kinsey, but there was no way of keeping it. He was dead and try as I might I could not get a K-9 unit inside the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Just as I'd given up all hope, news reached me that the sheriff's department was going to obtain a K-9 dog!! I was thrilled.

Then the article came out in the news paper announcing the arrival of the K-9 dog, and I nearly keeled over. It was not a solid black German Shepherd like the one's I'd specialized in for years. It wasn't even a German Shepherd. It was a black Labrador Retriever!

What the hell were we hunting ......criminals or ducks? I guess it was ducks because that's about all that was ever caught with the dog. And I just shook my head in disbelief and disgust. There was nothing on earth more versatile than the German Shepherd Dog. He could hunt ducks and catch criminals!!! He could sniff out drugs and bombs, find dead bodies, search for lost children, play ball with the school kids, ride shotgun with his deputy, and be home in time for dinner! And we get a Labrador Retriever! Sounded about right. I was surprised they didn't go after Lassie .... who could have herded the large groves of cattle that someone obviously thought still roamed through our towns! Talk about being out of touch with reality!

I tossed the news paper article on my husband's lap as I stormed past .... "That's not what Rod wanted. That's not a Shepherd. Rod wants a Shepherd." I complained.

Mike gave me another of those strange looks he's famous for. "The man is dead. He doesn't "want" anything." He stated matter of factly.

Not true ..... not a word of truth in it ..... well, maybe some words were true ... The man is dead. I couldn't argue with that .... but, nothing else had changed. "He still wants a Shepherd in his department," I replied.

"Woman, you are the most stubborn, not to mention irritating person on the face of this earth," Mike continued.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah .... tell me something I don't already know," I quipped over my shoulder as I went out the front door.

German Shepherd Dog

My thoughts continued on with the German Shepherd as I did my outside work that day.

All my life I'd seen things that other people had not noticed. And I had a knack for seeing things forward and backward.

German Shepherd Dog ..... reversed .....God dreh pehs nam reg. As far as I was concerned the dog's registered name said ..... God Drew Paths (where?)(in) Names (and) Regions.

I thought about Rodney ...reversed .....Yen .. dor: Yen was the monetary unit of Japan. Dor looked like door to me.... "What's that got to do with anything?" I asked myself. Myself could not answer!! I had that problem occasionally.

Before I realized it, I was mentally reciting the 23rd Psalm....."Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.......thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies ....

Shepherds ..... guardians, protectors, servants on the battlefield of life, man's best friend.

It all reminded me of Jesus ..... the Good Shepherd, the Guardian, and it reminded me of our cops ..... servants of the public, protectors.... Serve & Protect it said on their cruisers. They weren't aware, I'm sure, but their mission was a spiritual mission. They worked on the side of good versus evil.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff comfort me .... The words just kept running through my mind. Something was coming ... but what?

"Rod" was no longer here, and the "staff" (sheriff deputies who work for us!) didn't have the Protection of the Shepherd. They had a Labrador. I reversed Labrador ....Rod a Rbal. That was interesting. Rod a rebel? Rod was going to rebell against something? Mike said he was dead. I wondered if someone should remind him! Didn't matter to me. I'd rebell with him dead or alive. We wanted a German Shepherd Dog, and that's all there was to it.

The Czechoslovakian Import

By 1995 my breeding business had slowed down considerably. I was devoting an enormous amount of time to local unsolved homicide cases and felt that the killer of some of the women was especially close to me, and was keeping a real close eye on me.

I decided to do one last breeding with my beautiful, champion sired, golden sable Aztec.

She was mated with a majestic looking, black and tan named Amour that had recently been imported from Czechoslovakia. Most of the litter was reserved before I ever did the breeding, so I knew there would be none to donate to the sheriff's department or for me to keep. I was getting ready to shut it all down anyway, so I didn't want to keep a pup.

Amour meant love. Again I thought of my promise to Rod Kinsey. And I thought about law and order .... and how love was evol reversed....evil/evol.

And I figured I was still on the spiritual course that God had set me upon years ago. I wasn't sure where I was headed, but I was on my way!

The Cross

December 8th, 1996: It was Wild Bill's birthday. I hadn't spoken to him for nearly three years. He continued to follow me around and watch my movements. Didn't bother me too much. I was watching his movements too. Guess we were just watching each other.

Mysde and I had been driving the streets of Belpre for awhile when we came past the beauty shop where she worked and noticed the cruiser sitting on the lot.

"Who's the driver?" I asked as we passed.

Mysde didn't know, and neither did I. That meant we had to go find out who the "new kid on the block" was!

I pulled alongside the cruiser and spoke to the dark haired guy sitting behind the steering wheel. His name was Cross and he was a rookie.

We talked for quite a while that night. Cross saw a falling star and asked if he could make a wish upon it. I told him to go ahead, but in the back of my mind it worried me. I'd always heard that when you saw a falling star it meant a death in the family.

I don't know if the cop's wish came true or not, but within eight weeks we buried my mother, so I'm holding to the old saying.

Cross told me he'd heard a rumor that Washington County (our fond expression for the sheriff's department) was getting another K-9 dog. I wished them luck. It would probably be a Beagle .... in case anyone wanted to go rabbit hunting!

Mysde howled with laughter. She was one of the few who seemed to enjoy my wry sense of humor, that often bordered on spoiled-brat sarcasm.

A Shepherd Called Lord

February 21st, 1997. It had been just one month since my mother went to the hospital with a heart attack. She was not to come home again. I missed her.

My granddaughter Mariah and I had been to the grocery store and was coming home. I saw the Washington County K-9 cruiser sitting just to the side of State Route 555 before I ever turned onto 555.

I swung in beside the cruiser and said hello to the dark haired cop sitting at the wheel. I'd never met him before, but that didn't matter to me. He said his name was Officer Stackpole, and he had the new K-9 dog with him.

The dog's head appeared over Officer Stackpole's shoulder and I felt a tingle go down my spine. He was a beautiful, richly colored German Shepherd Dog! I marveled at how much he looked like Amour. The same ear set, same head size and shape, deep bodied and alert.

"That is one nice dog," I remarked to the officer. He was obviously very proud of the dog himself and I was very pleased .... not to mention impressed. And when it comes to German Shepherd Dogs, I am not easily impressed, but tend to be a very critical judge of the breed.

Stackpole? Why did I think of an old rugged cross .... two poles stacked together ..... 555 and a cold winter evening and a Washington County cop?

"What's your first name?" I asked. "Randy" he replied with a smile. RS I thought. I'd have to see what those initials meant....

"So, where did your dog come from?" I asked.

"He's a Czechoslovakian import," came the reply.

I felt my pulse quicken. I didn't dare try to tell this new cop what was racing through my mind. He would think I was a complete basket case. Hell, maybe I was...

"God drew paths through names and regions:, foreign money. This dog was foreign and he'd certainly cost some money. But he'd slipped in the back "door" while I was still kicking the front door! And again, I was impressed.

"What's his name?" I asked.

"Well, we call him Magnum, Randy Stackpole replied. He was already named when we got him, but the sheriff thought we should change it, so we did."

And I thought of a .357 Magnum, a cop, Little Hocking and a long ago promise.

What "was" his name? I insisted.

"His name was Lord," Stackpole replied, but the sheriff thought people might be offended by his name, and so it was changed.

Yeah, I could see how calling a Shepherd "Lord," might offend some. Meanwhile, I was in seventh heaven!!!

God Drew Paths... Names & Regions

As soon as I got the car unloaded and the groceries put away, I headed for the dictionary. I had not been able to get the strange series of events off my mind since I'd left the deputy and his dog.

I just kept thinking about the Czechoslovakian people being called "poles," and an old rugged cross. I thought of a King crucified, and a rod and a staff and protection. I thought of our Lord and how he was called a Shepherd, and I thought of a man named Rod and a promise that was more than seven years old ....

About the only thing I didn't understand was the word "stack" and the initials RS. The dictionary held my answer....

Rs = Rupee, which in turn meant "wrought "SILVER"...the monetary unit of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, etc. And I thought of a dog called Silver .... and a cop .... but it didn't stop there. It couldn't stop there. Randy Stackpole lived along State Route 555, next door to the mother of the man who owned Silver's brother Kaptan.

R.S. had another meaning .... "Reserved Status," and I felt that familiar tingle go down my spine as I looked up the word "stack."

Stack .... "To be placed ...."neatly arranged" .... orderly..."

And after more than seven years I bowed my head in humble acknowledgment of.....

mountains moved, seas parted, oceans bridged, pendulums swung, miracles performed and a promise kept.


2011 News:

In 2008 we elected a new sheriff here in Washington County. For awhile things continued as they had been for a few years. We had several K-9 dogs in the department and most of them were German Shepherd Dogs.

Karma matured out nicely, and there came a time that I offered him to the sheriff's department - donation, no strings attached. A few deputies came and got him that day, and took him for testing. They were not impressed with his reactions to the gun test, so he was returned to me. I didn't mind.

Even if he was not destined to be a police dog he was still a magnificant animal and would make a good pet.

Many years ago a neighbor boy had aquired one of my black Shepherds named Rambo. He'd had Rambo for several years before losing him to death and he continued to mis him.

One day Wayne came to visit and we talked of some of the old dogs that we both loved and missed so much since they were gone. Wayne said he'd give anything he had for another black like Rambo.

We walked out on the upper deck and I pointed to Karma who was running loose in the back yard. Wayne couldn't believe his eyes. "Where did you get that dog?" He asked. I explained the situation to him, and how I'd bought him from a cop to help him out when he had to move from this area, and how I'd hoped he would become my grandson's working companion when Josh graduated from the police acadamy.

However, I expalined, Josh had put his education on hold temporarily, and that was something that you could not do with a dog. If it wasn't trained at the proper time then it was never going to be trained.

I presented Karma as a gift to Wayne that day. I don't thin I ever saw a happier person.

He brought Karma back to visit a few times over the next year or so ..... and then the day came that I'd been shopping and came home to a message on the answering machine. It was Wayne and he was crying so hard I couldn't understand what he was saying ..... except I made out the words Karma is dead.

And so he was .... and is. We miss him. It was a tragic accident; a run line that tangled and choked him, so once again I'm going to issue a warning to pet owners, just as I did when I was raising dogs. Metal chokers are okay for walking your dog - provided you have them on correctly. If they are on backwards, you are asking for trouble and will eventually get it. The choker will lock if you tug on the leash and you will not be able to get it off your dog before it chokes to death.

If you are going to tie your dog out on a run line, by all means remove the metal choker and replace it with a well fitting, leather or nylon collar. Chokers are extremely dangerous on unattended dogs. Please do not use them.

Karma: The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.

It makes us complete, driving us forever, if need be, until we come to understand what we are. And with that understanding, we also come to know who we are. In this grand scheme of things, it is not that we wrestle with God. It is that God wrestles with us and says, in reverse of the words of Genesis 32, "I will not let you go until I bless you!"

A Promise Fulfilled:

I have recently learned that the K-9 program in Washington County {Ohio} has been scrapped. All our dogs were 'retired,' and weno longer have their services.

This makes me very sad. Those dogs were worth their weight in gold to our deputies and to the citizens of our county.

They say it's to 'save money.' I've never gave a hoot about their money. All I ever wanted was to save lives.

The dogs found enough drugs to merit their being kept and I'm sure there were many times they saved their handler's lives.

I'm also sure that if we had been given the chance, the people of this county would have voted to keep our K-9 division. But, as is too frequently the case, we had no chance to vote on anything, no chance to voice our opinions.

So be it. The promise to Rod Kinsey is fulfilled. It is done.

Bonnie M. Wells

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