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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

Press Release
February 9, 2011
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Canine Tracking Team from Hamilton Correctional Institution
Captures Fleeing Felon

JASPER, FL -- A Florida Department of Corrections canine tracking team successfully captured a fleeing felon on February 4, 2011 at 4:30 AM in the rural area of Suwannee County, Florida. The individual was suspected of committing a burglary and he also had an outstanding warrant for Violation of Probation. The suspect, Tony S. Brannon, was found hiding in a residence with a 22 caliber rifle in his possession when he was captured.  He has been charged with Violation of Probation, DUI, and DWLS and is in the custody of the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office.

The Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office had requested assistance from the DC’s Canine Team, which consists of Correctional Officers and tracking dogs from Hamilton Correctional Institution. The officers involved in finding the fleeing felon are Lt. Keith Morgan, Sgt. Stanley Cribbs, Sgt. William Billingsley and Officer Steve Folsom. Cooper was the K-9 dog that was used during this capture.

“Our Department of Corrections Canine Officer train hard and are called on often by our local law enforcement community to assist.  We work closely together to maintain public safety. We are extremely proud of our K-9 team at Hamilton Correctional Institution,” said Greg Archie, Acting Warden of Hamilton Correctional Institution.

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.

For more information, contact Communications Director Gretl Plessinger at (850) 488-0420.

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