The influence of HPD officers stretches throughout Houston, the state of Texas and the rest of the world outside.
This is one story about that widespread sway. It entails Houston police, football, dogs, fish, a passionate law enforcement advocate and – you better believe it – catching the bad guy.
As do most police stories, this one starts with a crime – the capital murder of a state trooper.
At mid-afternoon Nov. 23 DPS Trooper Damon Charles Allen pulled over a suspect for traffic violations in Freestone County, south of Fairfield on Interstate 45. Minutes later the suspect used a rifle to fire fatal shots at Trooper Allen. He then fled south toward Houston. Allen was dead at the scene.
2- and 4-Legged Officers
Literally dozens – no, hundreds – of law enforcement officers went in hot pursuit of the suspect, later identified as Dabrett Black, 32, of Lindale.
Officers from any number of law enforcement agencies followed Black to Waller County and confronted him about five hours later in Prairie View, near Hempstead. Black was discovered hiding behind a round bale of hay.
He was seized by a K9 identified as Odin, a four-legged deputy from the Waller County Sheriff’s Department.
Now, at this point, we take nothing away from the dedication of the approximately 200 officers surrounding Black, who unsurprisingly offered little resistance. Besides HPD officers, also present were representatives of Waller County, Hempstead PD, Harris County sheriff and Precinct 4 constable, Limestone County sheriff, Groesbeck PD, Brenham PD and, of course, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers.
This was typical of the “all-points” immediate response to a line-of-duty murder. There can be no limit to the number of brothers and sisters in hot pursuit of the killer.
In this case, there also was perhaps a dozen four-legged commissioned “officers” ready for duty.
Without taking away anything from those brothers and sisters – the human law enforcement heroes doing their jobs – we focus on one K9 hero and his HPD connection.
Today’s law enforcement officers frequently rely on police dogs to help them track down drug dealers, bomb-wielding suspects and arsonists. The expertise and specialties of K9s are currently expanding as the need arises in American policing.
HPO Officer Jimmy Robison, now retired, joined the Department in Academy Class No. 104 in 1982, spending practically all of 29 years at Northeast Station. Over those years he and wife Terri lived in Splendora and raised a son, Brian, who was a very talented football player.
Jimmy worked late. He often got home with his son still up waiting for him late at night to make sure he was safe. Brian always slept better knowing his dad was home from the dangers of policing in Houston – particularly in Northeast.
Brian, a defensive end, got a scholarship that brought him to Austin. He was a Texas Longhorn football player.
The young man’s talents stood out (understatement) and, as of this writing, he’s in his 11th year as a member of the playoff-bound Minnesota Vikings. Besides being a championship-caliber football pro, Brian Robison also is a professional bass fisherman.
The HPD Influence
A few years ago, Brian and his wife Jayme, herself a professional barrel racer, decided they wanted to form a non-profit foundation to give something back to communities – not just around Tomball, where they make their off-season home, but around Texas and the rest of the nation. They were looking for just the right formula for success.
Brian was influenced by his dad’s work. So was Jayme. And, so was Houston socialite, former radio personality and social crusader Kristi Schiller. It so happened that Jayme became acquainted with Kristi on the barrel-racing circuit.
Schiller wears many worthy hats. She is a wife, mother, animal lover (particularly her four dogs), a former Houston radio personality and model. She also is the founder and chair of K9s4COPS, a nonprofit that provides K-9s trained in narcotics, explosives and firearms detection to police across the country. These professionals certainly know how to pursue and capture crime suspects.
She also sponsors a world-class barrel racing event in College Station through a non-profit called Diamonds & Dirt every year. In this context she grew to know barrel racing competitor Jayme Robison.
When Brian and Jayme were looking for a worth-while police-oriented cause Brian’s new foundation could fully support, up pops K9s4COPS on their radar screen.
“Seeing all the hours my dad put in,” Brian told the Badge & Gun after a recent workout in Minnesota, “it really just kinda led me to building the foundation the last couple years. We found a cause. My wife Jayme had brought it up to me. She had seen the demonstrations sponsored by Kristi Schiller.
“We got together with Kristi and talked for 45 minutes. In the first 15 minutes we knew this was it. K9s4COP, Kristi and the others are near and dear to my heart, knowing the stuff they do and the passion they have for it.”
Brian and Jayme formed the Reel ‘Em In Foundation in 2015. The foundation is totally dedicated to raising funds for K9s4COPS. It sponsors two fundraising bass tournaments every year to enable Schiller’s well-tuned organization to furnish K9 officers to law enforcement agencies everywhere.
The first tournament happened in 2016. Currently there is one set for Texas on March 29 at Lake Sam Rayburn and another in Minnesota later in the spring. Many Vikings teammates and other celebrities always compete.
Schiller loves touting K9s4COPS and keeps constant tabs on every dog – about 200 so far – and its handler and every positive activity. She said Brian’s foundation caught enough fish to raise $250,000 last year, all of which will go toward the purchase of K9s for law enforcement handlers.
Schiller said that this pro football player, fisherman and cop’s son from Texas has placed three or four dogs in Minnesota and at least four dogs here (in Texas). HPD has three.
Another was placed with the Center Police Department in Shelby County and one in Brian’s hometown of Splendora. The others are in Minnesota, Brian’s pro football home.
And, oh yes, there is another with the Waller County Sheriff’s Department.
The dog credited with the “take-down” of the suspect who allegedly killed DPS Trooper
Damon Allen was – in the K9 vernacular of Kristi Schiller – “a Brian dog.”
Robison said his continued fundraising will result in more purchases and placements of healthy, well-trained K9s. When he heard that K9 Odin of Waller County had participated in the arrest of suspect Black, his reaction was “bittersweet in a way.”
“For me and my foundation we were very excited that we were able to put K9s on the street to stop the guy,” he said. “At the same time, I had a very somber feeling that we lost an officer in the line of duty. It was something (the shooting) that was stupid, very tough to deal with.”
Now Jimmy Robison’s son remains dedicated to doing everything he can to make sure the sons and daughters of law enforcement officers everywhere see their dads and moms come home safely from their daily or nightly duties. He knows a “Brian’s dog” will make it very possible.
The Robison family has grown very close to Kristi Schiller and her K9 crusade. Jimmy Robison said the story of the Harris County officer losing his K9 in the line of duty “tugged at heart strings. She puts on barrel races and that’s how she and Jayme got to know each other from some of the barrel races.”
Love of animals played a key role in the growing-up years of Brian and Jayme, as well as Kristi, who also raises quarter horses.
The Robison couple live in Tomball, where, Brian told the B&G: “ Did an inventory check on animals for you. We have horses, a pig, chickens, goats, a miniature cow, cats and dogs.”
“There you go,” he said. “We are animal lovers.”
So that’s the latest chapter in the story of an animal-loving cop’s son who loves playing football and fishing in order to provide well-trained animals to help keep safe people like his dad.