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Belgian Malinois K-9 Cop ‘Rom’ – A Star at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia

Belgian Malinois K-9 Cop ‘Rom’ at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia.

 

Belgian Malinois K-9 Cop ‘Rom’ – A Star at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia

One of the highlights of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show in November was a special ceremony for “Rom,” a Belgian Malinois Pennsylvania State Police Dog. The three-year-old, 80-pound athletic specimen, nicknamed “Rom the Bomb,” serves under the K-9 unit of the Pennsylvania State Police that specializes in searching for hidden bombs and tracking humans. He and his handler, Trooper Dan Reed, were instrumental in capturing the escaped convict, Danilo Cavalcante, who roamed free in Chester County, just west of Philadelphia, for two weeks in September.

Belgian Malinois K-9 Cop ‘Rom’
Trooper Dan Reed and Belgian Malinois ‘Rom’ stand during a special ceremony at the 2023 National Dog Show. photo courtesy of the National Dog Show

Thanks to surveillance video of the actual escape and the danger posed to the 500,000 residents of that rural and suburban area, the search for the escapee was in the national news every day.

When word got out of the brazen escape by a convicted murderer from the Chester County prison, a severe level of angst and anxiety spread in nearby communities some 45 minutes west of Philly. Pennsylvania State Police sprang into action and called upon members of the K-9 units to track down Cavalcante, who proved to be remarkably resourceful while eluding the wide-ranging search that also involved U.S. Customs and Border Protection units from other parts of the country. Cavalcante was taken down by another Belgian, four-year-old “Yoda,” shortly after Trooper Reed and Rom ended their overnight shift on the morning of September 13. Yoda was invited, but could not travel with his handlers from Detroit to take part in the recognition.

Rom and Reed worked tirelessly for 12 hours per day in the late summer heat, keeping Cavalcante on the run until he faltered after 14 days.

Before a capacity crowd gathered for the start of Group Judging on Saturday, November 18, the National Dog Show arranged for a Pennsylvania State Police Color Guard and National Anthem singer.

A moving introduction by public address announcer Sean Smith set up the big moment, and when Rom and Trooper Reed walked out onto the blue carpet at center ring, a rousing standing ovation ensued. A powerful rendition of the National Anthem by Trooper Louis Fludd followed, and the Group Judging, encompassing 199 breeds, launched the competition for Best in Show.

Rom also made appearances at the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Meet and Greet Zone before pausing outside to take pictures with scores of spectators who were captivated by the celebrity in their presence.

Belgian Malinois K-9 Cop ‘Rom’
Steve Griffith of Vizion Group PR greets the K-9 Cop behind the scenes. – photo courtesy of the National Dog Show

“When we do bomb threats or any kind of searches, I am fully confident in this dog,” offered Reed when asked about his work with Rom. “He motivates me. He is just an absolute rock star. He will keep searching until the job is done.”

Another questioner wondered if Rom knew the standing ovation was for him and Reed responded with a smile, “Of course he does. He’s K-9 Rom.”