Impaled PC back at work just weeks after shocking injury

A West Midlands Police dog handler is back at work just weeks after suffering a shocking injury when he was impaled on a metal spike while chasing a reported motorbike thief.

PC Dan Thomas and trusty canine sidekick Gil were tracking the man through gardens in Sutton Coldfield on 30 December when he slipped scaling an eight-foot fence.

The three-pronged spike − on a school perimeter near Langley Hall Drive − tore through Dan’s bicep but despite suffering major blood loss he managed to pull himself free and chase down the suspect. He was arrested but moments later Dan lost consciousness and needed surgery on the wound − including 15 stitches to repair the damage.

However, after a speedy recovery both he and two-year-old German Shepherd Gil are keen to get back on the streets protecting the public. He said:

“Gil has been bored silly at home. Because of the close bond between handlers and their dogs, plus licencing guidelines, I couldn’t just hand Gil over to another officer during my recovery; it wouldn’t work.

“I’ve been exercising him every day but it’s not as stimulating, or exciting, for him as working, tracking scents and chasing criminals. He’s really chomping at the bit to get back to work; great news for me, but not so great for crooks."

Dan is currently away from the frontline as he rebuilds strength in his arm but hopes to be back with the Response Unit at Sutton Coldfield by the end of February. He paid tribute to the first aid skills of police response colleagues at the scene and nursing staff at Good Hope Hospital who treated him and managed to repair his damaged tattoo. He added:

“I had a full arm tattoo not long before the injury…the spike tearing through the design was one of the most upsetting things! Thanks to the amazing skills of the hospital staff though I’ve been left with just a hairline scar; it’s hardly visible.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness and support shown to me by the public, it’s really kept my spirits up during the recovery, but I’m no different to any other Blue Light worker who puts themselves in harm’s way to make our communities safer, entering burning buildings or saving people’s lives."

PC Thomas − who has served with West Midlands Police for 16 years − was runner-up in Crufts’ Friends for Life Competition in 2013 having been nominated for his work with former police dog Janus in collaring 100s of crime suspects during his career.


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