EDITORIAL: Hammond must move swiftly on K-9 probe

2014-05-09T00:00:00Z 2014-05-19T19:56:11Z EDITORIAL: Hammond must move swiftly on K-9 probe nwitimes.com
May 09, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The Hammond Police Department was right to take quick action against the officer seen mishandling a police dog in the viral YouTube video.

If you haven't seen that video, you probably weren't on social media late last week.

The video appears to show a Hammond police officer lifting a dog off the ground by the collar and hitting the dog with the leash.

Last week, the video went viral as soon as it was posted.

"The involved officer has been placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation of the incident," Lt. Richard Hoyda said last week.

"At this time, the department has observed behavior by the K-9 handler that appears to be inconsistent with acceptable training guidelines," Hoyda said.

The incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. April 30. The K-9 unit was called to assist at a traffic stop.

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. was startled by the video, as any normal person should be.

"Anybody who loves dogs as much as I do is saddened and shocked when you hear or see a dog being abused. When you find out that it happens with an employee of yours, it makes it that much more shocking and disturbing," McDermott said.

This appears to be an egregious misuse of police resources and must be taken very seriously.

An investigation is underway. Don't let it drag on. Move swiftly toward a final determination in this case to set an example to other officers of how to handle police dogs.

And send the message to the public that police abuse in any form, including to police dogs, will not be tolerated.

This case received too much attention, resulting from that viral video, to see it get swept under the rug.

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