WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington Police Department has released an outside report that evaluates its K-9 unit. The report was commissioned following an incident last fall where the use of a police dog at the end of a car chase was brought into question.
In his 21-page report, Dr. David Ferland, an outside K-9 expert, reviewed the unit and identified its strength and weaknesses. Ferland also made recommendations, including more training and certification for the handlers and dogs, changes in some department policies regarding the use of dog trained for explosives detection and other handling tips.
Ferland also ruled that K-9 Kaas, which was involved in the fall incident involving the car chase, suitable for police work and can be retrained for a different, experienced handler, but Ferland does not suggest pairing Kaas with a new, untrained handler. Because WPD does not have another trained handler available, Ferland suggests sending Kaas to another department, where the dog can be paired with an experienced handler. The officer who previously handled Kaas was reassigned to WPD patrol unit when he returned from leave following an investigation into the car chase incident.
WPD says its staff has already begun implementing the Ferland’s recommendations.
“While I felt our K-9 Unit was operating according to policy and industry standards, it was critical to ensure that those assumptions were correct. We had to restore confidence not only to the public, but the Department and the K-9 Unit itself,” Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a statement. “Our community, police department and the K-9 Unit deserve the best practices we can implement.”
Evangelous is scheduled to speak with reporters this afternoon.