For members of the Tribby family, the last month has been one of heartbreak and loss, but a ray of happiness has come into their lives due to a dog named Anson.
On Jan. 22, Kentucky State Police Trooper Anson Blake Tribby was killed in an off-duty accident on Interstate 64 in Winchester.
Anson, or Blake as he is called by his friends and family members, was the son of former Maysville Police Officer and Commonwealth’s Attorney Detective Bob Tribby and Pam Tribby, director of contracted services for Hospice of Hope in Maysville. He was married to Rebecca “Becca” Walton of Georgetown.
Anson became a KSP trooper in 2010, and being a member of law enforcement was something he wanted to do because “he wanted to influence people,” Becca said Friday.
For Becca, Bob and Pam, Friday provided them their first opportunity to meet another Anson: a purebred, black German Shepard purchased by the Maysville Police Department two weeks ago. Although Becca wasn’t in the room with Bob, Pam and Anson, she was sent pictures of the soon-to-be K-9 Officer via cell phone by her father-in-law.
The process of purchasing and training new K-9 Officer Anson in still in its early phases. MPD Officer Ken Fuller has moved into the role of K-9 handler for the department, after moving from his position as detective late in 2012. Ken traveled to Von der Haus Gill German Shepards and Police K-9 Academy in Wapakoneta, Ohio, in early February to pick out a new dog for the department. Misho, MPD’s former K-9 officer has been retired after eight years of service. The department spent $11,000 on the purchase of Anson and will spend $2,500 for training.
On March 18, Ken and Anson will go back to the academy for a six-week training course required before Anson becomes an official active duty officer in the community.
Ken said when he and fellow officer Kelly Prater went to the academy, there were six dogs to choose from. He said almost immediately, he knew he wanted to bring 10-month-old Anson back with him, but the only problem was what to call him because he didn’t care for the name given to him by his German trainers. But the problem of a name was soon solved when he turned to his friends and asked their permission to name the dog Anson, in honor of their son and husband.
“As soon as he came out and worked, we decided he was the one we wanted,” Ken said of his new partner, who will be trained for patrol, narcotics and tracking.
Becca said when she was asked if it would be OK to call him Anson, her response was “Blake would be honored.” Not only was the thought of naming the dog after Blake, or Anson as he was called during college and his career as a member of law enforcement, an honor, but it also in some ways fulfills a goal of Blake’s, which was to eventually become a K-9 handler for KSP at some point in his career.
“It made me happy … Blake loved dogs and Troop ranked up there with Becca,” said Pam, referring to the young couple’s own dog. All three of the Tribbys also loved the fact that Anson is also solid black, just like Troop.
“It made me see how much impact Blake had and how he still has a place at the Maysville Police Department,” said Becca.
Ken explained the reason behind naming his new partner after Blake Tribby: Bob Tribby was the reason Ken joined MPD; when Bob became Mason County Jailer, he hired Ken’s wife, Heather and then the pair moved together to new jobs at the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office. But more than anything, a bond of friendship has developed between the two families, spending time together at work, as well as off the clock.
“It’s become a family and what affects them affects you. I couldn’t think of any name it could be, but I was afraid they wouldn’t let me,” Ken said. After receiving permission from his superior officers, he presented the idea to his friends.
“This dog has big shoes to fill if he’s half the cop my son was, he’s got a lot of work to do,” said Bob.
Ken said his duties as K-9 handler are to bond with Anson now just like one would with any pet, but when in training at the academy, the relationship of master and K-9 will be established. The partners will spend each day and night together during training. Afterward, Anson will live at the Fuller home and travel in the cruiser during on-duty hours. And although Anson is a loving “puppy” at this point, once he has graduated training, his disposition will be less social, to maintain the skills necessary to be an effective K-9 officer.
“It’s quite an investment and liability for the city… I want to learn all that I can and be the best I can be with the dog for the department,” Ken said.
Anson and Ken will receive certification in four different K-9 disciplines and will be on the streets by the end of April. Once home, daily training will take place and yearly re-certification is required. Ken said the trainers at the academy said Anson looks like he will be a high performer and knows it is his responsibility to keep him that way.
For Bob, Pam and Becca, having Anson on board at MPD represents something more: it will help people remember Blake; it continues a family tradition of serving in law enforcement (Blake’s grandfather Robert Tribby was an officer in Washington D.C.); and it has made them happy to have their loved one remembered and honored in such a way.
“I’m glad you named him Anson, I don’t want people to forget Blake,” Pam said.
On Thursday, Pam, Bob and Becca, as well as other friends and family members were in Frankfort, where KSP Trooper Anson Blake Tribby was honored with a moment of silence and an official state resolution in both Houses of the Kentucky General Assembly. The occasion took place on what would have been Blake’s 26th birthday.
As they move forward with their lives, they said they could “never, never in any way repay” the thoughtfulness, prayers, gratitude and support expressed from all areas of the community and law enforcement during the last month.
For Bob, he said it has been what has kept him going.
Pam said they’ve realized Blake influenced people in a lot of ways and “we want him to continue that.” Becca said having Anson with the MPD has made her “so happy” to have Blake still influencing people.
For Ken and the MPD, having K-9 Officer Anson will add another officer to the roster, one who will be out in the community for school searches and other public appearances, as well as helping to track down suspects or uncover illegal drugs.
“I look forward to being on the streets and serving. It means a lot to me,” Ken said of naming his new partner after his friend.
The Ledger Independent
Photos taken by:
The Ledger Independent