By Woodrow Polston
The Audrain County Sheriff’s Department reported that on May 25, during the late afternoon hours, members of the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol were dispatched to a location along Audrain County Road 133 in rural Centralia for a report of a domestic assault.
Upon arrival, the initial investigation revealed that a subject had assaulted a family member, causing injury. The subject was identified as Jason Cooley, 46, of Centralia. When law enforcement officers tried to speak with Cooley, he fled into a nearby wooded area. They were also advised that the man was possibly armed with a knife, although the knife was not related to the assault report.
Members requested the assistance of Sheriff’s Office K9 Units to locate the suspect, and both K9s arrived in the area at about 5:15 p.m. K9 Chal and Sgt. Chism began their search and tracked into a wooded area nearby. At about 5:34 p.m. K9 Chal gave his handler what is called a “proximity” alert, meaning the canine smelled human scent foreign to the ambient air in the area. Announcements were given by the handler that the K9 was present and would be released if he did not surrender.
Cooley emerged from behind a tree nearby and surrendered without further incident.
Cooley remains in the Audrain County Jail without bond and is formally charged with felony second degree domestic assault and felony resisting arrest by fleeing.
K9 Chal is a German shepherd born in 2016 in the Czech Republic. Chism and Chal are a full-service team and are certified by the Missouri Police Canine Association and the North American Police and Working Dog Association in several areas, including obedience, tracking, narcotic detection, area and article searches, and apprehension. At the time of his entry to the U.S., the K9’s name was Evans, but it is somewhat common to rename police K9s. The Sheriff’s Department decided to rename the dog “Chal,” to honor Audrain County Sheriff Chalmus Blum, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1924 in Mexico. The decision was made after speaking with Blum’s family members, who still live in the area. They felt the gesture would be an appropriate honor.
The Audrain County Sheriff and his staff remain committed to working with the communities, community partners, and other area law enforcement agencies to make Audrain County a safe place to work and live. The support and the input from the community is appreciated. All suspects are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.