It had just gotten dark when Hillsboro police officer Brad Richards responded to a domestic disturbance call on Sept. 24 and a rogue hawk slammed into the driver’s side of his police SUV near mile 292 close to Hillsboro.
“I had my lights and sirens on and I was just getting up to speed,” Richards said. “I saw its wing span out of the corner of my eye before the hawk hit me.”
Richards said the hawk made a “big bang” when it struck the side of the vehicle but he didn’t swerve. However, in the split second of the impact, he wondered what kind of damage the hawk did, so he instinctively looked at the rear view mirror to see the road behind him, only to find the mirror missing and the window chipped and scratched.
Remo, the canine officer, was in the vehicle, too, but the dog’s training prepared him for the loud noise.
“It didn’t faze Remo a bit,” Richards said. “He is familiar with loud noises.”
Richards said part of Remo’s training involves being able to walk behind a line of officers firing guns at the shooting range without being distracted.
Richards didn’t stop upon impact because officers are trained to get to a call safely if they can, and the call he was responding to had the possibility of a firearm.
When he returned to the scene of the hawk strike, he found the bird dead on the road and the broken mirror nearby.
“The wing span was about 4 or 5 feet,” he said. “It was gray, brown and had a little white on it.”