By Carol McIntire
The only thing missing from the Carrollton Civic Club’s annual Distinguished Service Award (DSA) banquet was the recipient’s “partner.”
Deputy Shane Beohm, whose name is normally associated with his longtime K-9 partner, “Oz,” was selected to receive the 2016 honor. Oz, who is inching up on his retirement date in June 2016, was home last week when the honor was presented, “ruling the roost” according to Beohm.
Sheriff Dale Williams nominated and introduced Beohm, sharing the story of how the county’s K-9 unit came into existence.
“Let’s back up to August 2009,” Sheriff Williams said. “I was very busy doing work in the office in the morning. A little man came in to see me, saying he wanted to go to Stark State and go through the Peace Officers Training and asked for a commission from me. That’s a six month course and I wasn’t sure he could run the three miles in 11 minutes, which is required. I figured he was paying for the course, so hey, what did I have to lose? I gave him the commission.”
In April of 2010 Beohm successfully passed the course and returned to the sheriff’s office.
“ I figured I would put him on as a reserve deputy,” Williams related. “But this time he said he said he wanted to be a K-9 unit and had a dog named Oz. I told him we didn’t have a car equipped for a K-9 unit. He said ‘ok’ and left.”
Three weeks later he returned to see the sheriff again.
“This time he said he had a car,” Williams said. “When I asked him what kind, he said, ‘same as you, it’s black. Bill Wells got it down south.’ I asked if he had any equipment. Again, he said, ‘yes’ and indicated he was going to equip the car himself. On that day, Unit 32 and K-9 Oz were born.”
Noting everything he said was a “true story,” Williams praised Beohm for all his behind the scenes work.
“He does a wonderful job,” Williams noted. “People don’t realize how many hours it takes to train these dogs. He and Oz were instrumental in capturing Buster Clark, the man wanted for murder who was found in Carroll County in 2015, and last fall Shane and Oz assisted US marshals in apprehending a man who was running from them.”
He noted the K-9 unit operates solely on donations solicited by Beohm himself. “He and his wife, Melanie, do a golf outing and that alone, with donations, keeps it running, In my opinion, they are one of the best in the state.”
He continued the presentation, saying Beohm returned to his office in the spring of 2014, saying Oz was getting older and he wanted to look for his replacement. The dog he was looking at wasn’t just any dog, it was Oz’s nephew. The cost: $1,800.
“He asked if I could help,” Williams noted. “I said absolutely and made a phone call to Chesapeake Energy. They covered the cost and Shane was able to purchase the dog, named Otis.”
Following a standing ovation from the crowd, Beohm walked to the podium and called the presentation, “very overwhelming.”
“I think being a firefighter, EMS personnel, law enforcement, men and women who serve their county is a thankless job,” Beohm noted. “We don’t do it for the glory, we do it because we want to give back to our community.”
She shared the difficult side of having a k-9 partner when he spoke of Canton Police Officer Ryan Davis who lose his K-9 partner Jethro to a shooting. “We trained with them,” Beohm stated.
He related a true story about a lady who asked him how he could put his dog in harm’s way.
“I told her there are two sides to every coin and I wanted to share my side,” he said. “I told her I have good dogs but if my wife had to choose between who she wanted to come home at night…well (laughing and pausing)…I hope she’d choose me.”
He called the Buster Clark capture the “highlight of his and Oz’s career.”
“It’s a group effort,” he said, “but in my heart of hearts, I know retiring Oz is the right thing to do. “He’s nine and half (years old) and has a limp in his left shoulder. He rules the roost now. He’s not crated a night anymore. He comes in and jumps on the bed knowing he shouldn’t, but wants to see how long he can get away with it.”
He turned this thoughts to the future and Otis, Oz’s replacement.
“Hold on for this guy,” he said, a smile coming to his face. “He’s very intense. At 18 months, he certified through the state, which is very unusual for dog that young to certify. I feel Otis is going to be a huge part of our department.”
“I am very humbled and blown away by this recognition,” he concluded.”
The guest speaker, Frank Cilona, a sports broadcaster and CEO of the Canton Region/Greater WV Better Business Bureau, spoke on ethics and integrity in sports and the business world. Ethics, he said, include four virtues: Fairness, integrity, responsibility and respect.
“We want to make sure we are teaching our young people these four virtues,” he said.
He pointed out the difference between gamesmanship and sportsmanship.
“Gamesmanship is,” he said, “winning is everything.” Sportsmanship cultivates respect, trust and honor. The goal is to pursue victory with honor and giving one’s best efforts.”