(GREENVILLE, SC)- On November 6, 2018 at around 1 p.m., Greenville Police Department (GPD) K-9 “Sarge”, managed by Officer B. Newman, was involved in an altercation with another dog. The incident occurred in Simpsonville. The GPD will not be releasing the exact address for the privacy of the victim and the officer.
The incident began as Officer Newman let Sarge out into his secured, fenced backyard to relieve himself prior to reporting for his regularly scheduled shift. Officer Newman went inside the residence to gather the remainder of his uniform gear. A few minutes later, Officer Newman returned to the backyard to retrieve Sarge and found him missing. He immediately checked the surrounding area and looked inside the residence.
After not being able to locate Sarge, he began to search the neighborhood in his patrol vehicle, which is specially equipped for K-9 transport. Additionally, he requested and received support from other GPD officers in searching for the canine.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Sarge was located at the neighborhood clubhouse a short distance away from the residence, after reports came into Greenville County dispatch of an incident between a German Shepherd (K-9 Sarge) and a black Labrador Retriever. Officer Newman was able to quickly arrive at the incident location and retrieve Sarge without further incident.
The engagement between the dogs resulted in the black Labrador Retriever receiving a non-life threatening puncture wound in the neck. The dog’s owner suffered a scratch on his left forearm as he separated the dogs. The owner’s injury appeared minor and the owner required no immediate medical attention. The black Labrador was taken to a veterinarian for treatment and is reportedly doing well.
At this time, it is unclear why Sarge left the fenced backyard of his handler. While this has never happened before, safeguards have been put into place to ensure this will not occur again, including no unsupervised, backyard releases of the K-9 and the addition of an outdoor kennel.
Last night, Chief Ken Miller, Captain Marty Wilkes, and Officer Newman visited with the victim and his dog and apologized for the regrettable incident. The City of Greenville is working with the victim to ensure that all medical or veterinary expenses are fulfilled by the City in this matter.
Per departmental policy, the incident will be investigated to evaluate Officer Newman’s compliance with policy. Separately, Greenville County Animal Control will investigate the event to determine compliance with all Animal Control laws. Officer Newman remains on active duty as these investigations progress.
Officer Newman has been with the GPD since June 2010 and has been a K-9 handler since January 2017. He has numerous commendations to include GPD Officer of the Month for June 2017 and several additional commendations for his K-9 work with Sarge, who is 4-years-old and has been with the Department since 2016. He and Officer Newman have participated in approximately 200 deployments since they teamed up.
Sarge, along with fellow K-9s Rocky, Valor, Saber, and Leo are skilled at drug detection, tracking, building searches, article searches, handler protection, aggression control, and obedience. Currently, the GPD has five K-9 teams, which routinely support uniformed patrol officers in their daily patrol activities. All K-9 units are on-call 24/7 to assist in the detection of contraband and explosives, and to locate missing persons and fleeing criminal suspects. All dog handlers are responsible for their dog at all times, at home and work.
The police dogs go through a 600-hour training course with their handlers before they are allowed to work the streets. After the initial training course, the dog and handler are then certified through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). This is a yearly certification that the dog team must pass in order to continue working in the community. Dog teams maintain their readiness by training 10 hours per week in order to maintain their skills.
These K-9s training, temperament, and obedience make them ideal ambassadors for the GPD. Accordingly, the K-9 teams regularly participate in demonstrations at community functions, city events, schools, churches, and businesses.