Posted on 21 August 2015 by La Habra Journal
LHPD Cpl Nick Baclit and Prinz
By Taylor Engle
La Habra Journal
The Orange County Sherriffs helicopter “Duke” and representatives from Orange County Air Support landed in the parking lot of the La Habra Police Department in order to present Corporal Nick Baclit and his police dog Prinz with an award on July 31. The police department and members of the La Habra community gathered in the parking lot to witness the sheriffs explain the significance of the award and why the winners were chosen. Every year, the Air Bureau presents the national two-part award in Texas at the Airborne Law Enforcement Association Conference known as the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) Vision Award. It goes to instances of the best air support and service dog apprehension. Representatives of each county submit the top videos and the panel then chooses the winner. This year, Orange County had the honor of winning both parts of the award: the Orange County Sheriffs for the best air support and Baclit and Prinz for the service dog apprehension. This award was earned based on an act that took place on December 13, 2013. The La Habra Police Department was pursuing a subject with an outstanding warrant for his arrest when they called in the Orange County sheriffs for air support with “Duke,” the name of one of the OCSD’s helicopters. Through the air, the sheriffs deputies were able to locate the suspect with infrared, providing Baclit with the ability to deploy Prinz and detain the suspect. The sheriffs were able to travel to Texas to officially accept the award; since Baclit and Prinz were not able to join, the sheriffs chose to fly it home to them. Upon arrival, the sheriffs not only explained the award to the attentive crowd but also played the video of the arrest that got them the award. Baclit was then awarded his plaque. However, the more unique part of the award was given to Prinz; the Air Bureau had a crystal water bowl made with his name engraved on it, a dog collar, and a leather leash. After the awards were presented, the Orange County sheriffs opened the helicopter for the police officers and La Habra citizens and demonstrated all the functions and mechanisms. “Not only did they present mine and Prinz’s awards in such a great fashion, but they were very transparent with the public,” said Baclit. Baclit was extremely honored to receive the award. He and Prinz have been partners for the past five years, and he has loved the experience. They have made a great team; Baclit was awarded La Habra Officer of the Year in 2014 based on his thorough career with Prinz. Baclit was passionate about working with service dogs from the very beginning of his career. As soon as he was eligible, he tested for the K9 program. Baclit was immediately selected and paired up with Prinz.
“I attribute the award to the work of those pilots and to my dog, Prinz,” said Baclit. “They are the real award winners.” Baclit, Prinz, and the sheriffs may have won the award, but the collaborative efforts of the Orange County Sheriffs and the La Habra Police Department is an award for the entire community.