September 2, 2010
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Contact: Public Affairs Office
A Florida Department of Corrections canine tracking team from Century Correctional Institution successfully captured a fleeing suspect yesterday (September 1), 25 minutes after their dogs found the track the suspect left behind. The suspect has been charged with Criminal Mischief and Felony Fleeing and Eluding and is in the custody of the Brewton, Alabama Police Department.
The Brewton PD requested assistance in locating the fleeing suspect from the DC’s Canine Team, which consists of Sgt. Burley Townson, Sgt. Gregory Stokes and Correctional Officer Tony Hall, along with their canines Misty, Tess, Fox and Roxy. The track of the suspect was 45 minutes old, but the dogs still picked up the scent.
“This is a good example of two separate law enforcement agencies working together to ensure public safety,” Said Century CI Warden Charles Halley. “Sergeant Townson and his staff play a vital role in protecting the citizens of Florida as well as local areas in Southwest Alabama. It is a privilege to offer our support to the local law enforcement agencies and communities. I am extremely proud of this institution’s canine team.”
There are 37 canine teams located at prisons throughout Florida, who are on call 24 hours a day to respond to local law enforcements’ requests for assistance in locating individuals. Last year alone, the DC’s bloodhounds were called to assist sheriff’s offices, police departments, the Florida Highway Patrol and others in need 611 times – averaging close to two calls per day.
The original purpose of the DC’s Canine Tracking Teams was to track (via scent) escaped inmates, but with fewer and fewer escapes occurring (there have been no escapes from a secure perimeter since 2006) their services are now being used more often by local law enforcement who don’t have K-9 units of their own, or who need additional K-9s to assist their teams. The dogs live in kennels on the prison grounds, and most are bloodhounds except for a few beagles. The dogs don’t attack when they find their quarry, (they bounce excitedly instead), which is why many law enforcement agencies prefer DC tracking units to find their missing and runaway children and the elderly.