Training Incident involving JPD K9

On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, an incident occurred during the Annual Qualification Training at the Craighead County Sheriff’s Range. 

K9 handler Jason Myers and his partner, K9 Rocket, were on the parking lot at the range, to give his dog a break.  After the dog exited the vehicle, gun fire started on the range.  The K9 was not leashed and responded, as he is extensively trained to perform, and ran towards the area where the shots were fired.  Sgt. John Porbeck heard the approaching dog and recall commands by the handler and observed the dog running at full speed towards him.  The dog attempted to engage Sgt. Porbeck, to which he was able to dodge, however, the dog began to engage again when Sgt. Porbeck proceeded to fire his weapon and the bullet struck Rocket.

Rocket did not sustain life threatening injures and was taken immediately to Animal Medical Center.  Surgery was performed and he was released the next day.  He is expected to make a complete recovery and will return to duty with no long term effects. Costs for his care have not been submitted by Animal Medical Center.

Chief Elliott has requested the Internal Affairs division to conduct a full investigation in this matter and has not been completed at this time.

Body cameras and surveillance.  Currently six of the seven JPD K9’s are still on duty. 

Update: 5:42 p.m.

After an extensive search into the incident regarding the shooting of K9 Rocket, the office of Public Information was alerted to a report that had been created on April 30, 2019 and had been put on Administrative Lock Down due to an internal investigation.  Non-administrative personnel do not have access to these reports until the IA has been completed.  These reports are then unlocked and are available for release.

It was brought to my attention by the Criminal Investigation Division Lieutenant, Jim Chambers, that report 19-03862 had in fact been filed by Sgt. Porbeck. He was then instructed, citing the exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act, to lock the report in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. I was not made aware of the report’s existence until after the original press release had been posted.

Chief Rick Elliott stated that “this is an active internal affairs investigation to determine if any departmental violations occurred. It is put on departmental lock down until the investigation has been completed by the Internal Affairs Captain and then turned over to the Chief of Police”.

The report is not available for release due to it being an undisclosed investigation.