Gunby Jr. says there is nothing quite
like being held in the grip of a dog’s
mouth. Simply stated: “(You have) 1,500
pounds of pressure exerted through four
aspirations of a career in law
enforcement, Gunby volunteers with the
Tempe Police Department’s K-9 unit while
also working as a uniformed civilian in
the Traffic Bureau.
Corona del Sol High School graduate, is
currently studying criminal justice at
Arizona State University.
some the stereotypical image of
volunteering involves selling items at a
bake sale or participating in a
fundraiser, few think of it as getting
hunted down by a gnarling, vicious
it may not be the norm, this is exactly
what Gunby does.
impersonates criminals to help train the
dogs in the K-9 unit. Leaving himself
vulnerable to the attacks of the dogs
hardly seems sane at first, though Gunby
says those who see his work change their
people call me crazy,” he said. “(But),
they like what I do (when they see it).”
K-9 unit, which was started in 1979,
needs the help of volunteers such as
Gunby for simulations involving suspects
who refuse to cooperate. These charades
often lead Gunby into less-than-pleasant
than one occasion, Gunby has found
himself in an unlikely situation.
dumpsters and sewer drains are the
worst,” he said. “(I’m in there)
anywhere from 20 minutes to hours.”
finds himself in undesirable
surroundings from time to time, Gunby
admits that he is one of the lucky ones
when working with the dogs.
haven’t had) actual punctures--came
close a few times,” he said. “(I’m) one
of the fortunate ones that hasn’t gotten
has not had his skin broken by the
animals, Gunby has had other injuries.
come out with bruises and scratches,” he
said. “(I was) knocked out once.”
the K-9 unit use different tools to
protect those acting, ranging from a
full “bite suit,” which covers entire
body, to a bite sleeve, which covers
only the arm.
earns valuable experience from the work,
progressing toward his ultimate goal of
becoming a police officer.
around dogs helped to acclimate Gunby to
the environment of his work, he says.
back of my mind I always thought of
doing something like this.”
work has been heralded outside of the
Police Department, as well.
recognized by the city of Tempe earlier
this year for amassing 200 hours with
the Police Department’s K-9 unit, its
bait car program and as a motorist
services assistant. For his efforts,
Gunby was named Volunteer of the Year.
becoming a police officer, Gunby says he
is considering specializing in work with
the K-9 unit, no doubt leading to fewer
bites out of him and more bites out of