ALBUQUERQUE – Public Safety Director Darren White recognized on Friday an Albuquerque police officer and his 4-legged partner who together caught a bank robber in the act.
Officer Chris Passeno and partner Josie received his week’s Friday’s Hero award. Each week a public safety employee is recognized by Director White or Mayor Richard J. Berry for going above the call of duty. Passeno was given the Police Chief’s Coffee Mug and Josie was presented with a bone.
“Hero is a term I don’t use lightly,” White said. “What Officer Passeno and his K 9 partner did to apprehend this criminal earned them that title.”
About 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 19 Officer Passeno was on patrol with Josie when they heard a call of their police radio that a robbery had just occurred at the Bank of Albuquerque in the 4200 block of Wyoming NE. Assuming that the suspects could strike again Passeno started patrolling near other banks. His hunch paid off.
He spotted a vehicle that was believed to have been involved with the robbery driving down San Mateo and followed it. He kept a safe distance as the car pulled into the Bank of the West near San Mateo and Montgomery NE.
Passeno and Josie saw a passenger get out and run inside the bank. Thinking that another bank robbery was about to occur, Passeno pulled his police car behind the suspect’s white sedan and turned on his emergency lights just as the alleged bandit was leaving the bank with cash in hand. The suspect had just robbed the Bank of the West.
Passeno jumped out of his police truck with his firearm drawn. The suspect kept his hands in his pocket and wouldn’t show them to Officer Passeno until he saw Josie frantically barking from the police truck. The suspect looked at the dog and put his hands in the air.
Passeno was able to take the suspect into custody without anyone getting hurt. The suspect was armed with a small caliber handgun and investigators believe he might have been reaching for it.