An heroic police officer will soon be hounding criminals with the help of a new best friend – a 12-week-old German Shepherd called Jago.
PC Katie Jones, who made national headlines when she was shot during an armed robbery at the Hospital Inn pub in Bamber Bridge, will train the puppy and welcome him into her home.
The police dog handler, now 32, was shot in the thigh at close range during the raid on New Year’s Eve 2007, for which four men were imprisoned.
Jago joins a team of 35 dogs, which work with officers throughout Lancashire, tracking and catching burglars as well as firearm and drug offenders.
He will first undergo 18 months of training before officially replacing a retiring dog from the unit.
PC Jones, from Ormskirk, said: “Jago is just settling into things at the moment, including being involved in quite an extensive training regime.
“He is an energetic little character who I know will be an excellent police dog when ready.
“Dogs are known for their superb sense of smell and one of his key tasks will be to use his scent skills to find wanted people or illegal goods.
“There are 18 dog handlers who work in this unit, we are all very passionate about our canines and I can tell you they play an essential role in keeping Lancashire safe.”
PC Jones, who has been an officer in the dog unit for five years and a policewoman for 10, has made a full recovery from the shooting.
She was nominated for a national bravery award and her assailant was jailed for life.
Courageous Katie feared she would die or lose her leg after being hit at close range in the bungled Hospital Inn raid.
But she returned to work just six weeks later. Four men were eventually brought to trial for armed robbery.
And in April 2009, Wayne McDonald, of Crossway, Didsbury; David Tyrell, of Factory Street, Tyldesley; Rudolph Mancini, of Dean Street, Bamber Bridge and Peter Plaskowski, also of Dean Street, Bamber Bridge, were all found guilty of robbing the pub.
The trial, at Preston Crown Court, had heard a masked gunman pointed a sawn-off shotgun at a police officer before blasting her in a pub, a jury was told.
Wayne McDonald opened fire on dog handler PC Katie Johnson as she responded to a “planned, callous and violent” hold-up at the Hospital Inn pub in Bamber Bridge, the trial heard.
PC Jones, who married her partner Ian Jones, a fellow dog handler, two years ago, said: “It was certainly a very scary experience and something which I will never forget. One of the things that kept me going is my work with Hounds for Heroes, which is a charity providing specially trained assistance dogs to injured servicemen and women. ”
If all goes to plan, Jago will work until he is seven years old, when he will retire to enjoy his old age.