UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA) -- Training is a game for four-year-old Rambo, a patrol dog with the Prince George's County Police Department. But for his handler, Corporal Scott Allen, training is what can make the difference between life and death.
"He's my partner. He's with me more than my family," said Allen.
Last Sunday, Allen and Rambo were called in after a man, who was likely high on PCP, barricaded himself inside a home in Lanham. After a nine-hour standoff with police, the suspect, 31-year-old Othman Conteh, jumped out a window and took off into the neighborhood.
"Here was a deranged suspect, armed with a handgun, running through a residential neighborhood," said Allen. "So I gave Rambo the bite command and he ran down the street and bit the suspect in the right arm, which was the arm in which he had the gun in. At that time, I didn't have time to think about what truly happened, and I do feel that he saved my life that day."
Conteh was taken into custody with only minor injuries, thanks to Rambo's restraint.
It's a far cry for the mid-nineties when the department's canine unit was brought under federal supervision after roughly 800 bites in just seven years. One of the department's K9 handlers, Stephanie Mohr, was sentenced to ten years in prison for police brutality. Back then, it was one of the worst canine units in the country. But today, it's one of the best.
Rambo, a mix between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd, has had seven "seizures" in his two-years on the job. A "seizure" is when a patrol dog takes down a suspect by biting him.
But, even more impressive, is Rambo's 46 apprehensions.
"That's where he finds a suspect, but doesn't bite them," explains Allen.
After every seizure and apprehension, Rambo gets a very special treat.
"When he performs well and does a good job, he gets a 7 ounce filet mignon," said Allen.