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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police say the officer who unleashed his K-9 on a man in November will return to work, but in a different job.

Ofc. Stafford Brister is clear to come back to work, but he will be working as a patrol officer.

Chief Ralph Evangelous says the incident has also prompted the department to take a closer look at its K-9 unit.

After a more than month-long internal investigation, Ofc. Brister will return to work within the next couple of days, Evangelous said. WPD put Brister on administrative leave as it investigated the use of his K-9 Kaas on a suspect who led police on a chase Halloween night.

Moving forward WPD plans to bring in an expert from the United States Police Canine Association to make sure the unit is working up to standards.

“We think bringing in someone from outside the region that knows no one will be able to give us an honest objective look,” Evangelous said. “I think that’s important for the community to know that we are using best practices, and if we’re not, we’ll fix it.”

Evangelous said the review will provide recommendations that will be shared with the public. The chief says once he selects someone to come in and evaluate the program, it will take about 45 days to complete and cost a few thousand dollars.

WPD’s K-9 unit is made up of five dogs, including the one involved in this incident. Evangelous says the evaluation will determine if that is the right number for the department to have. At that time, Evangelous says a decision will be made about whether to return Kaas to duty. In the meantime the dog is with another handler. Evangelous said he has been told Kaas is doing well.

The SBI investigated the Brister’s use of his dog on suspect Johnnie Williams Nov. 1. The case was taken before a grand jury, which declined to indict Brister.

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31 Comments on "WPD K-9 officer will return in different job; K-9 unit to be reviewed"

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Beach Bum
2016 years 2 months ago

You bring up interesting points…

But I have a few of my own…

K9 handlers go through extensive training with their partners. More than the average police officer. Do you really think they give an officer a dog and say here you go?

Secondly, you talk about diversity training…well, that is a two way street. You want respect, you have to give respect.

Are the criminals going to be held to the same standard or are they entitled because of race or economic disparity?

After all, when someone breaks the law, then the police are usually called to handle the problem someone… Read more »

2016 years 2 months ago

Chief Evangelous is a great chief. And I know he’s going to do what he thinks is right. But in this case, I have to disagree.

After being forcibly stopped, it appears Mr. Williams, locked the car door, to hinder his arrest. This is the same guy, who, just a few minutes ago, pretended to pull over. Then hit the gas, nearly striking two officers. (If he was so anxious to “give up”, why would he lock his door first.)

Former Wilmington police officer, Monica Carey, was struck and killed, 12 years ago, by a drug dealer, who pretended to… Read more »

2016 years 2 months ago

Officer Brister is a highly respected Officer at the Police Department. In his 22 years of service, he has done his duty without few complaints. I am not going to judge him for making a split second decision based upon under “good faith” what he knew at the time. I wasn’t there. For those that were not there, it’s best to keep you comments to yourself. And yes, I am talking about Ms. Maxwell. It makes me sick that the media will give her more time on this story than the Officers that were out there putting their lives on… Read more »

2016 years 2 months ago

Ralph gets it wrong again. Moves the officer and no supervisor accountability ..

2016 years 2 months ago

WWAY asked Dr. William Barber about this issue but, the law is the law whether for the average citizen or for those enforcing the law. We are held under same laws in N.C.; the nation and under the constitution. With so many lawsuits and incidents by WPD it is hard to keep track. It is also best to wait for all evidence presented before reaching any conclusions which so often the media does including Nancy Grace.
In the respect of NAACP and Dr. Barber I think until the investigation is complete and all and any evidence is… Read more »

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