Suereth: Support GPD’s K-9 unit

Open letter to Gainesville City Commissioners and City Manager:

I understand that there are another two meetings scheduled to discuss the future of the Gainesville Police Canine Unit. Please review the thoughts that I have regarding this matter:

Removing this unit from service is the equivalent of disarming your law enforcement agency, as well as removing a valuable tool to investigate crimes and perform civic services such as locating lost children and seniors. A canine unit fights crime, locates evidence and suspects, and suppresses crime by patrolling high-crime areas. They save lives, pure and simple. My canine saved my life twice.

These highly-trained canine teams serve a most valuable service to the citizens of Gainesville and the officers trained to perform the most difficult of tasks. To remove this unit from service without cause is a gross disservice to our community and the few zone officers available to serve everyone in the city of Gainesville, Florida. These dogs and their handlers are the first to arrive and the last to leave when responding to the most serious of calls for service. It was just days ago that the City of Alachua invited a canine team to their commission meeting to praise the value of the handlers and dogs that have served them.

The focus of the anti-police rhetoric driving your meetings regarding GPD’s canine unit appears to be based on the belief that a canine with the Gainesville Police Department was responsible for removing a felon’s eye after a track. Have you not seen the video that clearly shows that this is not true? His eye was removed by his failure to surrender. There is a clear picture of a shrub branch in the felon’s eye. Has this information been intentionally suppressed?  

I have participated in judging police canine teams all over the United States. I am a past national judge of the United States Police Canine Association. I am a former regional trainer and supervisor of the Gainesville Police Department. I wrote the first canine manual that GPD ever had. I believe they use the same manual today, which I’m sure has been properly updated over the years. I have never seen nor heard of what is happening in Gainesville, occurring anywhere else.  

What is going on here is not right by any stretch of the imagination. At the last meeting at City Hall, a statement was made by Commissioner Duncan-Walker that the commission supports its police department and its officers. I can think of nothing that the commission has done to substantiate such a claim.  

I hope that the above information sways your decision regarding this matter.

Don Suereth, Gainesville

Editor’s note: Two meetings are scheduled to discuss GPD’s K-9 unit, one on March 14, and one on March 21.

The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to info@alachuachronicle.com and are published at the discretion of the editor.

  • I whole heartedly agree with Don. Please support the police that keep the citizens safe. You want to get rid of Gainesville Police Departments canine unit only to have the Sheriff’s Office canine units respond to calls. This is another attempt to appease a small faction and put the citizens and officers at risk. When you break the laws of society, you must live with the consequences of your actions. Don’t break the law, don’t run from the law and you won’t have to worry about the law.

  • Remove the political agenda and race card motivation. Definitely need your k-9 unit, especially in G’ville. Statistics are in front of you the City has a major crime problem.

  • This community clearly seen how dangerous the K-9 unit is. To one point its not the dogs fault that the officers use them to terrorize the people of this city just ask Terrell Bradley. Unarmed black male pulled over for driving while black, and then he got scared and ran. The slave masters then turned the dog loose and to hell with citizen safety, the chase is on. I’m white and very conservative but I can call human rights abuses what they are, abuse. I see the propolice community is using fear to try and keep these mongrels on but think of the fear these mutts put into the citizens of this city. End the K-9 hunt for good!

  • To the GNV CC and city manager:

    Police & fire departments are essential city services. They need to be able to respond quickly to all kinds of emergency situations or lives may be lost. Police & fireman put their lives on the line every day. Police work can be very dangerous…They respond to burglaries, robberies, shootings, murders, traffic accidents, missing children, armed felons with guns & knives, crazy people, the list goes on….The K-9 unit is an essential tool & unit for law enforcement…They are used to track and for personal defense. Police need tools like police cars, hand cuffs, tazers, guns, radios, helicopters, night vision, k9. Fire departments need fire trucks, ladders, axes, jaws of life, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, paramedics, water, etc. Please provide our police and fire departments everything they need in order to protect & serve the public.
    When I have an emergency and have to call 911, I expect help to arrive immediately to whatever the problem is. Please fund and equip law enforcement and the fire department with everything they need to protect us. I am a taxpayer and expect my tax money to go towards anything they need to protect and serve. It is your job to make sure they
    Get it. Fund & equip our essential services so they have whatever they need to get the job done.

    Signed, “taxpayer”…the same one that pays your salary. Think about it…

  • Scrub bush in his eye the truth at last it’s sad That gainesville Commission wants to be woke so bad the idiot left wing ideology has to go it’s time for law and order i can’t wait for the state to take over GRU cut out their piggy bank

  • I have seen no pictures of this felon showing any bite marks on his face!! There are videos and stills of the aftermath that anyone can find. No bite marks on his face! In the dark, crouching behind a bush, k-9 finds this criminal, struggle begins, a branch gouges his eye, and we, the taxpayer, have to pay to treat this criminal??? It’s a better outcome than having our officer or our k-9 lose an eye rooting this looser out from behind the bush!!!

  • Unfortunately our city politicians do everything based on Woke optics. When they heard a fleeing criminal was bit by a K-9, their woke history lessons of dogs used against 1950s civil rights activists made them think of Jim Crow times. Instead of law enforcement in the 2020s. 🤬😡👹🤡

  • One of the biggest points here is that the community has been led to believe the dog bit the suspect in the eye during the apprehension. Until today I have not seen or heard that a stick poked him in the eye. Of course the liberal media wants to make LEO look bad at every turn but if this is true regarding the stick the correct information should have been disseminated much earlier. I understand “ongoing investigation” blah blah…but facts such as these released early on may have prevented the spread of misinformation which others based poor decisions on. The meat and potatoes here are “man loses eye to stick during fight with K9”. Not “man loses eye to K9 bite during apprehension”. The gravy is the liberal media outright lying and misleading the public.

    • Liberal? More like flat out leftist. Liberal is a misnomer as is conservative. Both have been subsumed by the far left and far right.

  • You might notice that both “meetings” are in east Gainesville, and ignore the other 90% of the city. Hmmm.

  • Even before the information about the stick taking out the convicted felons eye , it should have been obvious. It the K9 bites someone there will be teeth marks. The injuries to his face would have been extensive not just losing his eye. If he had stopped when told to do so he would still have his eye

  • I think these “fur” officers are an asset. I did a ride along for my BA. We went to the jail to drop off someone. There was a wanted felon and that dogo officer got out of a closet and that man was HUGE. Taking these much needed officers away because someone failed to comply and got injured is ridiculous. Try having one of these meetings on the other side of town where other tax payers live.

    PS they tell criminals the Canine Officer is coming….

  • >