March 23, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
Lake City, Florida -- A Florida Department of Corrections canine tracking team successfully captured a Columbia County man, Timothy Bowie, a suspected sexual offender, on March 18 at 7:20 pm in Lake City Florida.
Bowie was charged with Sexual Battery on a child and placed in custody of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office with a $1 million bond.
According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, when confronted about the alleged incident, Bowie broke away and ran into a wooded area. The Sheriff's Office requested assistance from the Reception & Medical Center's Canine Tracking Team which promptly responded to find the man.
The Department of Corrections officers involved in Bowie's capture are Sergeant Anson Johnson with K-9 Buster, Officer Weston Gaultney and Officer Orey Swilley with K-9 Patriot.
"The majority of the calls we respond to are missing persons, wanted persons, fugitives, fleeing felons, etc. Our teams perform their duties at great personal risk, and they are a significant asset to the communities they serve," the warden said.
“No telling how many bad guys have been taken off of Florida's streets by Department of Corrections K9 units." Riedl said.
Thirty-seven canine teams are located at prisons throughout Florida, on call 24 hours a day to respond to local law enforcements’ requests for assistance in locating people. Last year alone, the DC’s bloodhounds were called to assist sheriff’s offices, police departments, the Florida Highway Patrol and others in need a total of 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.