‘These dogs do essential stuff’: Dozens of residents and GPD officers discuss K-9 unit in heated meeting

Residents did not hold back from voicing their concerns about the K-9 unit.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:46 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville Police officers and dozens of residents gathered to discuss the status of the K-9 unit at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center.

Since last Thursday, Alachua County Sheriff’s officials have been lending their K-9 unit to Gainesville police after City Manager Cynthia Curry took the unit off-duty.

RELATED: Alachua County Sheriff’s Office helps Gainesville Police rebuild K-9 unit

“I’m against the Gainesville Police department’s K-9 unit,” shared resident Andre Abrams. “The Gainesville Police department has not shown any proof that those K-9s are useful.”

GPD’s unit faced criticism since Terrell Bradley was mauled and lost an eye after fleeing a traffic stop last July. Residents did not hold back from voicing their concerns about the K-9 unit.

“It needs to be dealt with as soon as possible because they’re going to be doing the same thing over and over again and the black community,” shared Abrams. “We are going to suffer.”

Some urged for the K-9 unit to be abolished. However, others showed their support for the K-9 unit which they said is a key component of the city.

“These dogs have given the city of Gainesville wonderful service,” shared former officer Bruce Nelson.” They need to be in operation in the city of Gainesville properly staffed, properly supervised, properly trained as soon as possible.”

GPD officers shared how the K-9 unit is a key component of public safety. GPD’s team now trains with ASO’s dogs and deputies.

“I had a strong sense of public service and I found the K-9 unit to be a very, very effective way to do that” stated Nelson. “That’s why I think it needs to remain needs to be staffed, needs to be trained, needs to be funded.”

A second meeting will occur next Tuesday in Williams Elementary at 6 pm.

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