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Harrisonburg City Council allocates money to replace K-9 police officer

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:44 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Tuesday night, Harrisonburg City Council approved a supplemental appropriation of $12,645 to the Harrisonburg Police Department to replace a K-9 police officer who had no longer met the department’s expectations.

In March of 2020, Bravo replaced Max, another K-9 officer who was retiring after nine years of service.

Captain Jason Kidd said their budget allows for four dogs and handlers, and a supervisor in the Harrisonburg Police Department to assist with making sure the community stays safe.

“We see the dogs as being a force multiplier because there are certain functions that a dog can assist with, say, for example, a building search or detecting narcotics that, physically, humans aren’t equipped to do nearly as efficiently as a dog would be,” Capt. Kidd said.

After not meeting the expectations of weekly training, the police department has decided to retire Bravo from his role.

“Bravo in training and in-field exercises, he didn’t have the proper demeanor to really excel as a police K-9,” Capt. Kidd said. “So we decided it was best. After we evaluated him, and then we went to an outside evaluator as well, and we just decided it was best to remove him from the rotation.”

After realizing that K-9 Bravo would not pass his certification testing, the leadership of the K-9 Unit contacted the supplying K-9 kennel to explain the situation.

The kennel in question cited that it only provided a three-month workability warranty on its dogs, and refused to make significant concessions to maintain its relationship with HPD.

The money given by the city will be used to pay for a new K-9 officer and its training at a new kennel in North Carolina. In February, Bravo’s handler will head south to Tarheel Canine Training, Inc. to work with the new K-9.

But what will happen to Bravo?

“He’s a great dog, he’s just not the best dog as a police K-9. So what we’re going to be doing, is there will be a police officer here at Harrisonburg PD that will be adopting him, and so he’ll continue to be a part of the HPD family, just not as a police K-9,″ Capt. Kidd said.

Capt. Kidd said the new K-9 officer is expected to join the department later this spring.

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