December 17, 2010
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Worthington Springs -- A Florida Department of Corrections canine tracking team captured a suspected burglar, on Thursday, December 13 at approximately 1:00pm in Worthington Springs, Florida.
The suspect had fled on foot from a burglarized home the previous day. By the time the Union County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Reception and Medical Center’s Canine Team, nearly 24 hours had passed.
The time interval, high winds and ongoing drought conditions made for a less than favorable tracking environment but team members said K-9 Patriot took little time in establishing a track and led his handlers to the home of the suspect, approximately one half mile away. The officers involved in this capture were Lieutenant Bret Dukes, Sergeant Bobby Adams, and Officer Richard Shuler.
The suspect has been charged with Armed Burglary, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, Grand Theft, and Grand Theft of a Firearm and is currently in the custody of the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
“I simply can’t say enough about our K-9 team here at RMC,” said Warden Brian D. Riedl. “Even in favorable conditions, finding a suspect is a highly difficult mission, but to establish a track and make a catch on a trail that was a full day old, in extremely tough conditions, is exemplary!” Riedl said. “Their daily dedication and training was the key to last night’s capture, which was more akin to a scene from a Hollywood production than real life. It truly was that exceptional!” Riedl said.
There are 37 canine teams located at prisons throughout Florida, who are on call 24 hours a day to respond to local law enforcements’ requests for assistance in locating individuals. Last year alone, the DC’s bloodhounds were called to assist sheriff’s offices, police departments, the Florida Highway Patrol and others in need 611 times – averaging close to two calls per day.
The original purpose of the DC’s Canine Tracking Teams was to track (via scent) escaped inmates, but with fewer and fewer escapes occurring (there have been no escapes from a secure perimeter since 2006) their services are now being used more often by local law enforcement who don’t have K-9 units of their own, or who need additional K-9s to assist their teams. The dogs live in kennels on the prison grounds, and most are bloodhounds except for a few beagles. The dogs don’t attack when they find their quarry, (they bounce excitedly instead), which is why many law enforcement agencies prefer DC tracking units to find their missing and runaway children and the elderly.
“The work these guys do is special and is not something everyone is cut out for. One night you may be tracking a suspected murderer…the next someone’s lost loved one. Our K-9 teams approach both situations with equal passion and the service they provide the surrounding communities is invaluable,” said Warden Riedl.
These items, and a 50-inch plasma television set, were recovered.