Training pays off: Norman dog corners suspect, holds for police

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NORMAN, Okla. – A man is behind bars after he attempted to hide from police in the wrong backyard.

Jax, a German Shepherd, is not afraid of anything except thunder.

He went through training to become a K-9 officer with an Oklahoma police department, but his fear of storms has held him back from joining the force.

“He can handle anything except thunder. When you hear a little bit of thunder, he goes and hides his head. So that’s not going to work in Oklahoma with our thunder storms, so he can patrol the backyard but not the streets,” said David Cunningham, Jax’s owner.

However, Cunningham says Jax’s police training paid off on Tuesday night.

“He keeps pacing outside the door, going back and forth. It’s dark and you can’t really see, so we’re looking around; we know someone or something is back there,” said Cunningham.

Once Cunningham opened the back door, Jax immediately ran to a shed and began barking and howling.

At that point, Cunningham says he knew something was wrong.

“We heard someone saying, ‘Don’t shoot, I surrender,” said Cunningham.

However, Jax would not leave the shed, blocking the alleged suspect in until police arrived at the home.

When officers arrived, they arrested  39-year-old Dustin Lance Powell.

Norman police say Powell led officers on a high-speed chase near S.E. 24th St. and Lafayette.

The chase reached speeds up to 100 miles per hour and Powell took refuge in Cunningham’s yard.

Little did he know, a dog trained by officers would help put him behind bars.

“He has been a great dog, he’s protective. When you’ve got kids in the house, it’s nice to know, they’ll tell you, they’re not afraid because Jax won’t let anyone in the door,” said Cunningham.

Authorities said Powell is facing multiple charges including possession of a stolen vehicle and endangering others.

Norman officials said that an officer suffered a leg injury during one of  two car chases overnight, but is expected to recover.

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