SLC police officer cleared of wrongdoing in shooting of Geist the dog | Buzz Blog

Friday, August 1, 2014

SLC police officer cleared of wrongdoing in shooting of Geist the dog

Posted By on August 1, 2014, 4:40 PM

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"It is never the intent of the police department to use deadly force, " said Salt Lake City Police Chief Burbank Friday morning in response to the ongoing case revolving the recent officer shooting of Geist the dog. "We as a police department are very sorry for the circumstance."

In the 30-minute video posted above, Burbank gave a lengthy statement and responded to a Q&A with local reporters emphasizing SLCPD policy and training, and expressed an apology to the dog's owner, Sean Kendall. 

"We have an officer responding to the need of the community and a caretaker responsibility to do his job. You have a dog behaving like a dog will behave, especially when a stranger walks in a yard, and what resulted was the unfortunate death of Geist, a family pet," said Burbank. "The officer reacted to a dog that was charging at him and in fact, the distance was very small. Physical evidence indicates that the dog was within three feet of the officer when he responded with his firearm." 

This morning it was an announced that an investigation by the Salt Lake City’s Civilian Review Board cleared the officer involved, Officer Brett Olsen, of wrongdoing, and pointed out that he did not violate department policy. The board recommended that SLCPD provide additional training and tools for officers when they encounter dogs.

The Humane Society of Utah has also endorsed this recommendation, stating: 
The HSU believes all law enforcement agencies in Utah should, at minimum,
also take the following steps to prepare their officers:
* Training regarding non-lethal options (catch poles, nets, batons, Tasers, powder-based
fire extinguishers, etc.)
* Training with regard to dog behavior, body language, posture, barking, etc.
* Contacting animal-control officers to deal with unleashed dogs
* Improve communication between officers, homeowners and animal control
* Establish clear departmental procedures with a scale of options short of discharging
a gun

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