K-9 Officers Difficult, Costly To Replace

1:08 AM, Jan 27, 2014   |    comments
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DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- A Davie County man seems to have made good on his threat to shoot officers and kill. Police reports say Wednesday night Nicholas Tilley told his probation officer he would do those two things. And it appears he did. Officers tried to serve a warrant for Tilley's arrest. They say he tried to get away, and ended up taking two people hostage. The hostages were fine. But the Sheriff says Tilley started shooting at officers and they shot back. The bullet that hit Deputy Chris Fleming actually came from the sheriff's gun. It ricocheted off a window and hit Fleming in the face.  But the sheriff says a bullet fired by Nicholas Tilley hit and killed a K-9 officer named Gorky.

Fleming is recovering. But Gorky died early Thursday morning.

The K-9 officer was five years old and had been on the force for four years. Gorky's death is a loss of life and a loss of valuable experience. While Gorky didn't carry a gun or take down report, K -9 officers are highly trained. 

2 Wants To Know more about what goes into K-9 training. We went to Eldon Presnell of Green Collar K-9 to get perspective. It takes eight to 12 weeks to train each dog. Training costs about 10 to 12 thousand dollars. And that's paid for by the K-9's law enforcement department.... which means your tax dollars. But it's about more than money when a dog leaves the force.

"It was always a struggle to start over with a new dog after one dog would be retired and start over with a brand new young dog," Presnell said. "It was challenging. It's pretty pain staking. Basically you got to start over from scratch - from zero."

The North American Police Work Dog Association says nearly 200 officers in North Carolina work with dogs. Some officers work with more than one K-9.

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