September 3, 2010
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
SUWANNEE COUNTY -- Two Florida Department of Corrections canine tracking teams successfully captured a fleeing suspect yesterday afternoon (September 2) in North Suwannee County around the intersection of Highway 51 and Highway 217. The female suspect fled from a Suwannee County Sheriff’s Deputy during a traffic stop. The suspect, Dori Pope, is currently in the Suwannee County jail charged with fleeing and eluding a Law Enforcement Officer, Driving with License Suspended, Resisting an Officer with Violence, and Violation of Probation. She was captured on County Road 221 and 152nd Street in Luraville (Suwannee County).
Canine tracking teams from both Suwannee and Hamilton Correctional Institutions responded to the request for assistance from the SCSO at 10:40 am yesterday, and after an exhausting seven- hour hunt the suspect was captured by the dog teams. The officers involved in the hunt and/or capture of the suspect are: Sgt. John Morris, Sgt. Richard Gamble and Correctional Officer (CO) Jeremiah Carter, along with canines Witty and Pistol, all from Suwannee CI; and Sgt. William Billinglsey, CO Steve Folsom and CO Allen Tolle, along with canine Copper from Hamilton C.I.
“Our Department of Corrections Canine Officers train hard and on many occasions at the request of our local law enforcement community. We work closely together to maintain public safety,” said Suwannee CI Warden Mark Redd. Hamilton CI Warden Riska concurs, adding “We are extremely proud of the K-9 Team at Hamilton Correctional Institution and all of the K-9 teams statewide for their dedicated service.”
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.