Police adopt new policies involving K-9 officers

Published 6:41 pm Friday, October 25, 2019

A section of the Vicksburg Police Department’s policies and procedures manual has been upgraded to provide more protection for the department’s three K-9 officers.

Police internal affairs officer Capt. Mike Bryant presented the changes to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at its meeting Friday. Police Chief Milton Moore said the changes are in response to the death of K-9 officer Thor, who died Sept. 4.

The purebred German shepherd, and 7-year veteran of the police department, died in his handler’s vehicle when the car unexpectedly shut down, leading to the interior of the vehicle to overheat. The vehicle did not have a heat sensor installed, which would have set off an alarm when the vehicle unexpectedly shut off.

At the time of the vehicle malfunction, it was parked at the Vicksburg Police Department. At the time, department policy allowed a K-9 officer to be left in the vehicle, with the vehicle running.

Under new policy, a K-9 cannot be left in a vehicle for more than 30 minutes except under extreme circumstances, and no K-9 can be routinely carried in a vehicle that does not have a heat sensor and alarm in it. The heat sensor alarms must be tested weekly.

If the handler knows he will be in the police station for more than 30 minutes, the dog must be brought in and placed in a kennel. Moore said the department currently has one kennel and is in the process of ordering two more.

Other policy manual changes include improvements to the manual’s instruction page and a change in the department’s attendance policy eliminating the department’s 6-minute “grace period” for reporting to work for officers and civilian employees.

“If you are supposed to be at your desk at 8 o’clock in the morning, you’d better be there at 8 o’clock,” Bryant said. “You clock in a minute late, you’re tardy.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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