Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood held a press conference Thursday following body-camera footage being released by KCSO of the accidental K9 deployment.
On May 9, 2021 at 4:46 p.m., Kern County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and the K-9 Unit responded to a high-risk traffic stop on a reported stolen vehicle in the 5900 block of Wright Avenue, in which a KCSO K-9 was accidentally released from a patrol vehicle.
The drive of the stolen vehicle was arrested. A man was bit by the released K-9 and suffered minor injuries. It was later determined he was not involved with the stolen vehicle, however there is a felony warrant for his arrest.
Speaking to media, Kern Sheriff Donny Youngblood said the department has already taken steps to ensure this type of accident doesn’t happen again, including adding red warning lettering to the K-9 patrol vehicles. Youngblood went on to say a hazard of working with dogs is that they are animals. He believes the chaos of the situation is what agitated the dog to bite following its release. Youngblood added both the handler and K-9 have returned to duty after undergoing additional training. The deputy who inadvertently released the dog was not put on leave. As for if the KCSO is facing lawsuits, Youngblood says even when events go as planned, there is always that potential.
The body-camera footage is in the link below. WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:
On May 9, 2021 at 4:46 p.m., Kern County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and the K-9 Unit responded to a high-risk traffic stop on a reported stolen vehicle in the 5900 block of Wright Avenue.
One of the K-9s on scene was in the back of a patrol car, in a secured kennel. Deputies were in the process of detaining multiple subjects, when an additional Deputy arrived on scene to assist. The Deputy approached a Sheriff’s Office vehicle and opened the door to take cover, inadvertently opening the K-9’s kennel door, allowing the K-9 to be released without the handler’s knowledge. Due to the short distance between the K-9 vehicle and the subject involved, there was not enough time for the K-9 handler to call off the K-9 before the K-9 could engage one of the subjects being detained. The K-9 handler took control of the K-9 and removed the K-9 from the bite. Medical aid was rendered and the subject was taken to a local hospital where they were treated and released for their injuries. The subject was not arrested due to the investigation revealing the subject was not involved with the stolen vehicle.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation into all of the actions, equipment, and training of the Deputies and K-9 involved. The K-9 will be removed from patrol work for the time being and the K-9 handler will be reassigned to other patrol duties until he and K-9 are re-certified in all areas of training provided by the Sheriff’s Office contracted K-9 trainer.
As with any investigation, the Sheriff’s Office will be looking into the incident to determine if any policies were violated and if any additional safety measures can be put in place.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at (661) 861-3110.