November 20, 2014
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Tallahassee, Fla. – "I am proud of the men and women in the Department of Corrections who provide around-the-clock work to ensure the safety of Florida families," said Secretary Michael Crews. "This capture of a fleeing suspect is an example of the Department’s commitment to working with local law enforcement to provide assistance in times of need."
Last Monday, K-9 Units from Northwest Florida Reception Center (NFWRC) and Holmes Correctional Institution were dispatched to assist in tracking a fleeing suspect. The suspect had hit and killed a 19 year old woman while fleeing from local law enforcement. The K-9 Units tracked the suspect for over six hours through woods and swamps, but the suspect was able to elude capture and the search was suspended.
On Tuesday, the Holmes Correctional Institution K-9 Unit discovered an article of clothing belonging to the suspect that was needed for the case. The evidence was turned over, and the K-9 units awaited further instructions from local law enforcement as they had received more tips on the suspect.
Shortly after, the Florida Highway Patrol had pulled over a vehicle that had an individual matching the description of the suspect. The individual fled from the vehicle. A moment later, it was confirmed by a passenger of the vehicle that it was the suspect. All units were in route to the scene. The Walton Correctional Institution K-9 Unit was also called in to assist, knowing the history of suspect being able to successfully elude canine units. Local law enforcement, NFWC and Holmes Correctional Institution K-9 units arrived on the scene.
The Holmes Correctional Institution K-9 Unit established a hot track and tracked the suspect through the woods. For approximately 2.5 miles, the suspect circled but was unable to get behind the K-9 units. Walton Correctional Institution K-9 unit arrived on the scene and assisted with the search. Eventually, the suspect was captured approximately 250 yards from where he crossed a road without incident.
The Department of Corrections K-9 units took the lead in the apprehension of the fleeing suspect. There were over 25 law enforcement officers on the ground assisting with this effort.
The Florida Department of Corrections has 38 K-9 programs statewide which are used to support law enforcement agencies with felon apprehension, locating missing persons and locating and providing aid to persons in distress. In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Department’s K-9 tracking teams were deployed 710 times.
(Standing Back Row) Officer Daniel Meeks, Sergeant Mark Bird,
Officer Michael Head, K-9 Clyde, Sergeant Doug Landingham,
Officer Kelt Cooper, Sergeant Harry Brock, Colonel James Schweinsberg
(Kneeling Front Row) Sergeant Jack Cates, K-9 Ruff,
Officer Michael Park, Sergeant Stephen Register
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.