Department of Corrections release K-9 plan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Department of Corrections release K-9 plan

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

September 16, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Corrections releases a plan to insure that K-9 units will be available to law enforcers.

They announced Special Ops K-9 teams across the state will be cut in half. These dogs are a vital tool in solving crime and finding missing persons, especially in rural areas.

The department says 17 teams and a total of nearly 50 dogs will still be available and re-aligned throughout the state.

In our area, two teams will be stationed at Valdosta State Prison; two more at Ware State Prison; and one at Lee State Prison.

The wardens will determine what calls they can answer. They say they will continue to support local law enforcement's officials in an emergency.

Here is the entire statement released by the Department of Corrections Commissioner James Donald.

"While it is true that the Department of Corrections is reducing its canine units, it is important to note that this valuable state resource will still remain available to assist local law enforcement agencies across the state. We will continue to operate 17 canine teams, with a total of just under 50 canines, located strategically across the state. The teams will be assigned to the local wardens who will have the authority to send the teams out to assist with local law enforcement emergencies.

Is also important to note that there is no change in priorities for the Department. Our core mission is operating safe and secure prisons, and the canine teams, along with all other Department assets, must first support our core mission. Local law enforcement officials who face emergency situations, always have been, and will continue to be supported by the Department of Corrections. We continue to place a high value on these public safety partnerships.

As we realign these assets across the state, we stand ready to assist any community with an interest in developing their own canine capabilities to include providing a limited number of highly trained canines. In addition, our local kennels and trainers will be made available to new handlers for joint training.

Your Department of Corrections exists to protect and serve the citizens of this state and our mission will not be compromised in light of our state mandated budget reduction of $66 million. We will implement these reductions and realignments responsibly, with our mission of public safety at the forefront."