DEER PARK, Texas – A stunning video showing a police K9 handler retrieving his partner went viral last week when a powerful tornado hit Deer Park, Texas.
On surveillance footage, Officer Joel Nitchman can be seen running to a parked police SUV outside the station as another officer runs toward the building. Moments later, the tornado hits. For a few briefs seconds during the video, nothing is visible. Yet quickly the worst of it is over, and the handler emerged from the police unit with his partner, K9 Roni, the Western Journal reported.
The Deer Park Police Department video went viral last week after it released footage showing the event, according to KTRK-TV in Houston.
Deer Park is a suburb of Houston and has a population about 34,000. The Jan. 24 tornado was an EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which measures the strength of the twisters similar to the “categories” used to measure hurricanes. On the EF scale, an EF5 is the strongest, yet an EF3 with wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph can cause severe damage and place lives in peril.
Mike Seidel, a familiar fixture on The Weather Channel, shared the video last week, according to the Western Journal.
Watch as K-9 Officer Joel Nitchman of the Deer Park, TX Police Dept. races to rescue his #dog Roni as the EF3 #tornado hits on Tue. As he said, "Any handler would have done the same for their K-9 partner." Very happy that both are safe!#dogsarelove
— Mike Seidel (@mikeseidel) January 26, 2023
“Any handler would have done the same for their K9 partner,” Nitchman is quoted as saying in Seidel’s tweet.
“The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado that went through Pasadena and Deer Park as an EF3 and characterized it with an estimated maximum path length of 18 miles, maximum path width of 0.66 miles, and a maximum wind speed of 140 mph,” KTRK reported.
For those unfamiliar with police practices, law enforcement K9s may accompany their handlers to various locations, but it is not unusual for the service dog to be left in the climate controlled patrol unit while the handler is inside the station or another location where the K9 isn’t needed. The vehicle not only remains temperature controlled, but the dog has water and can exit the unit (if properly equipped) if it loses power. The law enforcement K9 is at home and comfortable in the “mobile kennel.”