| Press Release
August 4, 2014
| For More Information
Tallahassee, Fla – When a two-year old child went missing from her family’s home in north Florida, the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution’s K-9 team sprang into action to quickly find the little girl and return her safely to her family.
The Santa Rosa Correctional Institution K-9 search team consisted of Sergeant Robert Lenzo, Officer Christopher Gilbert, Officer Joshua Chandler and K-9 Luke. Despite the young girl having been missing for two hours, temperatures in the high 90s and the area crowded with friends, family and volunteers trying to locate her, the K-9 team established her track and found where she had left the residence. They followed the track through the woods and located her approximately one-half mile behind her home in a thick patch of thorns and vines. Sergeant Lenzo crawled into the thicket and freed her from the vines.
The child was quickly turned over to the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office deputies who reunited her with her parents.
“I am proud of the brave men and women of the Department of Corrections who serve their communities daily through their public service, including by committing acts of heroism and bravery such as this rescue,” said Secretary Michael Crews. “Ensuring the safety of Florida families is a priority of the Department of Corrections, and the Santa Rosa C.I. K-9 team is a stellar example of that commitment.”
This successful rescue can be accredited to both the extensive training and skill of the Department’s K-9 Teams, as well as the Department’s ongoing partnerships with local law enforcement agencies. The Department has 38 K-9 programs statewide which are used to support other law enforcement agencies with felon apprehension, searching for missing persons and locating and providing aid to persons in distress. In Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the Department’s K-9 tracking teams were deployed 710 times.
Photo Left to right: Ofc. Joshua Chandler, Sgt. Robert Lenzo, Ofc. Christopher Gilbert.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 22,000 members statewide, oversees more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 146,000 offenders in the community.