May 29, 2015
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Published May 28, 2015
By: Wes Locher
To view the story online, visit: http://www.starfl.com/news/local-news/k-9-unit-helps-police-save-lives-1.483871.
Elementary students in Wewahitchka last week were treated to a visit from the Gulf Correctional Institution's K-9 division.
Warden James Blackwood and members of the unit wanted to share with students how the bloodhounds and beagles of the K-9 unit can be used to save lives, just as much as they can be utilized to stop the bad guys.
Blackwood said the K-9 unit serves both Gulf and Calhoun counties to search out escaped inmates from area prisons, missing children or even elderly citizens with Alzheimer’s who have wandered away from their homes.
“The number one goal is to ensure that if anyone escapes, we catch the inmate,” Blackwood said. “Luckily, we have very few escapes, but if someone does run, they call us.”
According to Easter, who was born and raised in Gulf County, the goal of the demonstration was to educate children on how the dogs could find both criminals and missing persons.
“It’s such a rewarding job,” Easter said. “You have to have some amount of selflessness. We train hard every day to keep the community safe.”
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.