SAPD Canine Officers Honored in New Art Work

Long time Hemisfair Artist in Residence Jonas Perkins today donated a unique mosaic featuring San Antonio Police Canine Officers with their dogs, as a tribute to the work the two and four legged officers do around the city, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

All of the tiles used in the mosaic were collected from the streets of San Antonio, making it a truly unique work of art.Perkins recalls when his studio was at Hemisfair right after the 9-11 attacks, and the officers would come by regularly to train the dogs and sniff for any hint of trouble at the prominent gathering spot.

He recalled that he was a young African American with Dreadlocks and dirty work clothes when he first met the officers.

"One of the officers had tattoos and short haircut, and I thought, 'he just can't like me'," Perkins said, recalling his youth in the Chicago of the 1960's.  "But he said, no come over here, please sit by me.  That changed my life, and I knew that you can't ever think that somebody is against you, when they have not done anything to you."

He identified the officer as Lee Dee Von Tappan.

The mosaic features Van Tappan and four other Canine Officers, with their partners.

"The San Antonio Police K-9 units were the ever present reminders of equality and order in Hemisfair Park," Perkins said.  "They tought me a lot of things about getting to know people from the vantage point of uniform and service."

He said working in a studio in a public place, with the door always open and people walking by, 'gave us a community in which there was no prejudice and only equal harmony between the different factions and personalities.'

The mosaic will hang in the main lobby of the Public Safety Headquarters, and will eventually be transferred to the headquarters of the Canine Unit.

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