ALAMOSA — Blitz entered the boardroom, leash taut, dragging his handler, Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office (ASO) Sergeant Paul Gilleland, in for his introduction to the Alamosa Board of County Commissioners. The 15-month-old bloodhound took the time to introduce himself to everyone in the boardroom individually bounding from one to the next leaving a trail of excited drool on all of his newfound friends.
Alamosa obtained their newest tracker back in November 2019 from Tucker’s Bloodhounds in Ohio as part of a donation by the ALIE Foundation. The ALIE Foundation was named for Aleszandra “Alie” Berrelez a young girl from Englewood who went missing. After countless hours of searching turned up nothing, the decision was made to ask the Aurora K-9 unit for help. J.F. Nichols and bloodhound Yogi stayed on scent for 14 miles eventually leading to the discovery of Berrelez’s body.
According to the foundation’s website,
“Our mission is to educate families concerning the danger of child abduction and provide bloodhound dogs to Police K-9 Units to locate missing abducted children.”
Gilleland also receives free lessons on how to train and work with Blitz from Frank Hurst and Al Nelson of non-profit organization Bloodhound Mantrackers Inc. Not to mention donations to the ASO of Ace Canine healthcare equipment and a canine heat alert system for the patrol car.
It all makes for a valuable member to every law enforcement agency in the San Luis Valley. Blitz’s services have been used by Conejos, Costilla County, the District Attorney’s office and most recently Alamosa County.
Blitz’s latest mission took place just last weekend in an assault and robbery case on State Ave. A fresh snow fall offered the lead shoe prints belonging to the suspects. Gilleland and Blitz arrived on scene and followed the trail about a half a mile to a residence containing the suspects, who were then arrested.
According to a letter from Alamosa Chief of Police Ken Anderson to the ASO on the incident,
“Without the assistance of your sergeant and K-9, this case would have gone unsolved on the night of this incident and would have required extensive follow-up in the days to follow. I appreciate the partnership between our agencies and look forward to continuing working with your department in the future.”
According to Gilleland, Blitz has been on the job since he was seven months old logging his first confirmed find around the six month mark. In his eight months on the job Gilleland credits Blitz with 20 finds not including cadaver finds, logging 7 and 13 mile tracks in that time. And since he works off air-scenting the tracks based on a pheromone trail in the air, meaning he’s not bound to a physical trail to follow and could theoretically even track someone in a car.
“When he’s actually working, there’s not a better working dog out there than him. He will put any other dog’s nose to the test”, said Gilleland of Blitz’s work ethic.
“There’s not much better out there than a working Bloodhound.”
Paul Gilleland has been working in the Alamosa County Sheriff’s office since 2016 and has been on patrol for the past four years. Gilleland has roots north of Mosca as he spent time as the Head Coach for the Sangre De Cristo Thunderbird Football team. As such the human canine duo make visits to the schools up there to educate the youth on Blitz’s role in the police force, which typically results in Blitz soaking up all the attention.