Cisco works for the state Division of Correction. He barks to intimidate unruly inmates, and he bites them if they persist in their bad behavior.
But on Jan. 22 Cisco suffered the ultimate indignity for a police dog. He was attacked by three inmates who thought his bark was worse than his bite. The inmates attacked Cisco during a fracas at the Maryland House of Correction Annex in Jessup. The German shepherd suffered a fractured skull, bruises and a cut above the eye.
Correctional officers were surprised when the inmates attacked Cisco with their fists after he was sent into a segregation unit in the newly constructed, maximum-security lockup.
"It is highly unusual just from a police officer's standpoint to see someone attack a police dog," said Sgt. Gregory M. Shipley, a corrections spokesman. "We're dealing with a different type of person here. They were very aggressive and ready to take the dog on."
The dog was attacked just after noon when his handler, Sgt. William J. Bruder Jr., sent him onto a tier to help calm a disturbance by three inmates.
The inmates had covered their cells with blankets and set small fires while banging on the bars and demanding additional recreation time. One inmate even flooded his cell, allowing the water to drain into other areas.
The first inmate Cisco confronted struck him in the head and so did a second prisoner.
Then the third inmate "came out swinging" and struck the dog in the head multiple times, causing a cut above the eye and a skull fracture, Sergeant Shipley said.
The sergeant said the dog is undergoing medical rehabilitation in Hagerstown and faces possible retirement from the canine force if he is unable to pass a medical examination in about four weeks.
The inmate believed to have caused the serious injuries to the dog, Gary Green, 26, who is serving a 10-year sentence for robbery, faces administrative and criminal charges, Sergeant Shipley said.
As for Cisco.
"He's not on paid medical leave," the spokesman said. "He's getting a can and a half of dog food each day and appears to be recovering well."