September 26, 2008
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
It was 9:30 p.m. on September 17, 2008, when Apalachee Correctional Institution’s K-9 team consisting of Sergeant C. Sneads, Sergeant A. Mercer, Sergeant K. Chambliss and Officer T. Hatcher received a call for assistance from the Jackson County Sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s deputies had located an abandoned vehicle on the side of Highway 69, two miles north of Grand Ridge. The vehicle in question was registered to a suspect wanted for attempted murder and kidnapping out of Cobb County Georgia.
With the assistance of Jackson County Deputy Jeff Opry, the canine team with K-9 Man tracked west into the wooded area for approximately half a mile when the team spotted an enclosed tree stand with the door open. Upon further review, Officer Hatcher spotted an individual inside of the tree stand matching the description of the suspect. Officer Hatcher and the K-9 team ordered the subject out of the tree stand and the suspect responded by picking up am item, later identified as a tree limb, and pointed the item at the officers as if he was pointing a rifle. Next, the assailant, armed with a seven inch razor knife, jumped from the tree stand and charged toward the officers, stopping a mere six feet from the team’s position. He refused to relinquish the weapon. Sergeant Sneads quickly retrieved a canister of chemical agents from Deputy Opry and administered chemical agents to the face of the aggressor, who responded by fleeing further on foot. He stopped after a short distance, due to the effects of the chemical agents, and ultimately complied with orders to relinquish the weapon and submit to handcuffs. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident.
This is another example of the bravery and commitment demonstrated by K-9 teams representing the Florida Department of Corrections (DC) on practically a daily basis. In fact, the following day, another K-9 Team launched into action and captured a fleeing suspect.
On September 18, 2008 around 4:20 p.m., Washington Correctional Institution’s K-9 Team was called by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department to locate a white male suspect who bailed out of his vehicle and ran from a deputy at the intersection of Sunday Road and Orange Hill Highway. Sergeant Tommy Brock, Sergeant Scott Marsceill, Officer Hugh Kopp, Officer Derrick Kirkland and K-9 Leonard responded to the scene and established a track.
After a tenacious, 45 minute pursuit through a heavily wooded area, the suspect was apprehended, then taken into custody by Washington County Sheriff Deputy J. Pelfrey, who was tracking with the K9 team. Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock expressed his appreciation for the swift response and excellent skills displayed during this capture. Washington CI K-9 staff not only fulfilled their public safety mission in this endeavor, but they also minimized operational costs for their local Sheriff’s Department.
For more information about the role of the Department's K-9 Teams, click here.