Alachua County Sheriff’s Office helps Gainesville Police rebuild K-9 unit
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Last week, Gainesville City Manager Cynthia curry announced the removal of GPD’s K-9 unit after its short-lived reinstatement. Now, Alachua County Sheriff Clovis Watson has agreed to assist GPD in the rebuilding of their K-9 unit after the sergeant in charge stepped down.
GPD is bringing the unit back in a limited capacity.
“Due to the staffing and dog shortages with GPD, we have offered to let them train with us and assist them in training dogs,” said Art Forgey, ASO public information officer. “We will train on everything from tracking explosive detection, narcotics detection, apprehension and more.”
Both agencies received plenty of criticism from citizens within the last two years. GPD faced backlash for the Terrell Bradley mauling case and ASO for not lending their K-9 unit to assist in a homicide case in Gainesville in February.
“I was shocked, I was a little bit upset,” said Dontae Jones, one of Bradley’s childhood friends. “As far as the k-9 units go, I’m not going to say abolishing them will solve the problem because I’m pretty sure they need them for other things but you need to have a better way to train them and a better way to protect the people.”
While many people called for the unit to be abolished, others like Roger Phillips think the unit is fine as is.
“I think it’s great that they agreed to do it, dogs in the right situation are a good thing,” said Phillips. “I don’t see where it needs to be changed, they proved that they didn’t do anything wrong and they followed what was supposed to be done.”
ASO officials will provide K-9 training once a week and lend their canines to GPD from here on out.
“I think this is a great opportunity for both agencies and it shows the cooperation back and forth between law enforcement. We’re happy to assist in any way we can. I think Sheriff Watson’s goal all along has been to help when we can.”
The city of Gainesville will hold two community meetings to discuss the unit. The first meeting is on March 14 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multipurpose Center, 1028 N.E. 14th Street. The second meeting is on March 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. at Williams Elementary, 1245 S.E. 7th Ave.
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