Soddy-Daisy police officers did not receive Taser training until the past couple of weeks, but the officer who stunned a man who later died received previous Taser certification, records show.
Officer Melissa Daniels previously received Taser training through Chattanooga police, Soddy-Daisy Chief of Police Phillip Hamrick said. Because certification is individual to each officer, police remain certified even when they transfer agencies, he said.
However, Red Bank city records show that Officer Daniels — then Melissa Varner — provided paperwork showing she was certified to use a Taser upon her graduation from the Cleveland State Police Academy in 2004, records show.
Officer Daniels was employed with Red Bank from December 2004 through June 5, 2006, said Red Bank City Manager Christopher Dorsey. During that time, Red Bank officers did not possess Tasers, so Officer Daniels did not carry one, he said.
Officer Daniels’ paperwork about her Taser certification has been turned over to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the death of Roger Redden, 52. Mr. Redden died Jan. 22, about two weeks after Officer Daniels used a Taser on him.
Chattanooga officials said Thursday they could not immediately determine whether Officer Daniels received training through the city’s police department.
Officer Daniels could not be reached for comment, and Chief Hamrick said she would not be available for comment because of the pending investigation.
In August, the Soddy-Daisy City Commission approved the purchase of 10 Taser units and training for officers, according to Times Free Press archives. Chief Hamrick and two other supervising officers did not receive their certificates to train Soddy-Daisy officers until December, the chief added.
Eight officers currently carry them, but were not allowed to do so until they received proper training at the end of January and early part of February, Chief Hamrick said.
According to the police report from the incident with Mr. Redden, on Jan. 4, officers were called to 9921 Dayton Pike on a disturbance call and found Mr. Redden without clothes and throwing things around the house. When he would not calm down for police and because there was a continuous struggle, Officer Daniels stunned him on his left leg, left arm and upper chest, according to the report.
The Taser, which has a camera attached to it, recorded the scene, Chief Hamrick said.
“They automatically come on,” he said, referring to the camera. “The tape was turned over (to the sheriff’s office) in the most recent one.”
One of the supervisory officers on the scene during the incident — Sgt. Larry Neighbors — also was involved in a DUI traffic stop of Mayor Gene Shipley’s uncle on Jan. 1.
According to a police report from that incident, Sgt. Neighbors told another officer his job would be in jeopardy if he did not release the mayor’s uncle.
The Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the DUI incident.
A plaque is to be erected in Blackpool honouring a policeman involved in a dramatic rescue after a wartime plane crash.
Pc Thomas Beeston saved the life of a young girl after a plane came down on the town’s old Central Station in 1941.
The aircraft crashed after a midair training collision, showering people in and around the station with wreckage and burning fuel.
A commemorative plaque is to be placed on the concourse of North Station.
The Reverend Richard Cook, British Transport Police chaplain, has been researching the rescue.
He said the officer’s bravery was exceptional.
“When you think about it and you look at the protective gear we have now and compare it with the fact that he was just in his uniform, it was an incredibly brave thing.”
Pc Thomas Beeston, who has since died, braved the flames to rescue the young girl from the disaster.
The plaque is being put up in the summer at Blackpool North Station. The town’s Central Station was demolished in the 1960s.
Any relatives of the policeman have been urged to get in touch.
Looking at the German shepherd jumping and playing outside the Annapolis Police Station, no one would suspect this veteran crime-fighter is sick.
But Ares has a cancerous tumor that has been growing on the inside of his jaw for at least the last few months.
He is one of the city Police Department’s K-9s trained to assist officers by sniffing out the presence of drugs and for finding hidden criminals.
He’s been with the department for six years.
The small tumor on the lower part of the inside of his jaw has grown larger since his handler, Cpl. Chris Tucker, noticed it in October. It started out at about the size of a pea, and now it’s the circumference of a dime.
The tumor is operable, but surgery is expensive and will require Ares to give up his job.
Right now, Cpl. Tucker has decided not to do the surgery for as long as Ares is able to work.
“If we do the surgery, it completely retires him as a police dog,” he said.
Doing the surgery, and retiring him now, would likely take a huge toll on the dog’s mental status, he said. Police dogs live for their jobs and enjoy working.
“Taking him away from the job is going to kill his spirit,” Tucker said.
He recalled a time last year when Ares, who lives with Tucker, had a minor surgery on his mouth for a different problem. The dog was not allowed to work for a couple of weeks.
“The dog was miserable,” he said. “He laid around the house and moped. He’s a work dog. He’s not a house dog.”
So the plan is for Ares to continue working as long as he’s still up to par on his skills and isn’t showing any signs of pain.
“It might be two weeks, it might be two months,” Tucker said.
They still may do the surgery, depending on the progression of the illness, after the dog is retired. Ares’ medical bills are covered as long as he’s an active work dog, but after that the onus falls on Tucker to foot the bill for the surgery, which is expected to cost about $2,000.
Ares was donated to the department in 2003 by Art and Jean Held, owners of the former landmark Maryland Avenue shop Johnson’s On The Avenue. The Helds also donated Luke, another police dog, last summer.
Ares is 71/2 years old and he would likely be retiring soon anyway. Most police dogs retire at about age 8, Tucker said.
The news of Ares’ cancer, and his accelerated retirement, is a blow to the department’s K-9 unit, which has five dogs.
That number provides optimum coverage, so that dogs are available for all shifts, Tucker said.
In 2007, the city had three police dogs and completed 75 narcotics scans. But when they added the extra dogs in 2008, that number increased nearly five times, with 367 scans.
The dogs are invaluable because they can do the work of many officers in searches of buildings, Cpl. Tucker said. And unlike a human, the dogs rarely miss the target – if a suspect is hiding somewhere, the police officer might not see him, but the dog will always pick up his scent, he said.
Ares has had “tons of good calls” over the course of his six-year career, Tucker said.
In one case, the dog tracked down a homicide suspect in a backyard in Eastport. In another case, he helped county police find more than $35,000 worth of narcotics, three guns, body armor and thousands of dollars in cash while police were serving two warrants in an Annapolis-area hotel and storage unit.
And he’s helped make other arrests in robberies, car thefts and drug cases.
“I’m still amazed. I still learn something every time I use him,” Tucker said.
Jane Schlegel, a police spokesman, said the department will try to keep five dogs in the K-9 unit. At this point there is no firm plan in place as to when Ares’ replacement would be funded, and there is no money in the budget for it, Schlegel said. Trained dogs cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
She stressed their importance to the crime-fighting team.
“They perform a vital service,” Schlegel said. “It’s another line of protection for officers, too, when they arrive at the scene.”
Since he found out about the tumor months ago, Tucker said he has come to terms with Ares’ illness.
“I’m trying to enjoy what time I have left to work him,” Tucker said.
Once Ares retires, Tucker said he’ll do his best to keep Ares active and give him work to do at home, though it won’t be as intense, and it won’t be real police work.
“I know it’s going to be a rude awakening,” he said.
The Oroville Police Department is currently seeking financial support to help fund a second K-9 unit.The department has one dog unit, though officers are hoping to bring in a second dog to help fight crime on the streets of Oroville.
“We’ve had so much success with Bear we want a second dog to equally cover our shifts,” said officer John Sanzone, in reference to his former canine partner, Bear.
Sanzone retired Bear in January, following the discovery of a genetic abnormality in the dog, and is expecting to receive a new four-legged partner in the next few days.
MarKen International, the company Bear was purchased from, is paying for his replacement, and Sanzone said with one new dog already arriving, it would be an ideal time to bring in a second K-9 unit.
“We’re hoping to get the money in so both dogs can go to training at the same time,” Sanzone said.
Sanzone plans to take his new dog to a five-week training program in Santa Cruz in April. He said he hopes the department can secure enough funding by that time to have officer Oscar Gonzalez and a second dog attend alongside him.
“We already have a great dog picked out,” Sanzone said. “We just need to get the funding secured now.”
In less than two months, the department must raise the $32,000 it will cost to purchase the new dog, attend training, and outfit a patrol car with the ability to transport the dog.
Though the cost is significant, Sanzone said the benefit to the community is priceless.”It’s really about helping the people of Oroville,” Sanzone said. “Bear was a part of numerous apprehensions, foot pursuits and car chases. Ninety percent of the time, having a dog de-escalates the situation and makes it safer for us and the suspect.”
Sanzone added the department plans to cross-train both dogs to detect narcotics by the end of the year.
Although he realizes he is up against a tough economic situation, Sanzone said he is confident the people of Oroville will once again help to bring safety to their streets, as they did with Bear.
“We saw huge community support when we raised money for Bear, and hope it will be the same again,” Sanzone said. “It was so refreshing to see that we really had the community behind us.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the K-9 effort can send contributions to the Oroville Police Department K-9 Fund, 2055 Lincoln St., Oroville, CA, 95965.
Two Fort Myers Police Department officers and their K9 partners earned top honors last week in the Iron Dog Competition at the National Police Canine Association’s 2nd Annual Police Service Dog/Handler Survival Seminar in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Officer Shawn Nenadal and K9 Chase took first place and Officer Walter Mitchell and K9 Dagger came in second. The competition included an obstacle course of real life scenarios that tested agility, officer safety skills, apprehension, physical fitness and shooting accuracy.
The FMPD has six police officers with K9 partners. The dogs assist with searching buildings, tracking criminals and drug detection, and provide officers with non-lethal assistance in the prevention and detection of crime.