Friday, July 20, 2018

Did Dex Have to Die?

How come the Hinds County Sheriff's Office didn't install heat alarms in its K-9 vehicles when the use of such alarms has been standard practice among local law enforcement agencies for quite some time?  The Hinds County Sheriff's Office scrambled into damage-control mode after it was forced to admit that it lost a K-9 officer to heatstroke over a month ago  when JJ broke the news yesterday.  WLBT reported the Hinds County Sheriff's Office will install heat alarms in K-9 vehicles:

Hot cars are dangerous, not only to humans but animals, too. When Hinds County Deputy Lafayette Martin II went to grab dinner he left his K-9 partner, Dex in his patrol vehicle. He wasn't worried because he left the engine running with the air conditioner on. But the engine stalled and shut off while Dex sat inside.

"He was in inside for less than an hour and due to the heat...," Deputy Darrell Thornton said unable to finish his sentence.

When Martin returned he found Dex. He had died from heat stroke. Dex is gone but his tragic story might save future K-9s.

"What I'll do if you all want to I'll turn the vehicle off. The alarm is set. It takes about ten min to go off," said Thornton as he showed us the device.

The Hinds County Sheriffs Department is equipping all of its K-9 vehicles with "Hot Car" alarms. Deputy Thornton explained how it works.

"We put in a heat system for our dogs. What it does is to aide if the vehicle shuts off and the heat rises in the interior of the vehicle," said Deputy Thornton. "It has an alarm system that will go off so it will alert the owner of the vehicle, the handler, to come out to the vehicle."

The alarm is also designed to lower the windows. An enthusiastic K-9 officer participated in the demonstration.

Thornton says temperatures in the vehicles can be extreme.

"They say on the system here that in 90-degree weather, whenever it goes off before 10 min that the inside the vehicle can reach to 160," he said.

Thornton says, nationwide, the alarms are saving lives. Two years ago,18 K-9s across the nation died in hot cars.

Using the hot car alarm, Thornton tells me the number dropped to 8 in 2017, two, so far, this year. So, Dex did not die in vain because the K-9 units will now have another layer of protection.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.  This story die not come as a surprise to the Kingfish.  JJ heard about this tragedy a few weeks ago and began investigating.  A public records request for documents about the incident was submitted but the Sheriff refused to provide them but for a cremation invoice.  The records were emailed to this correspondent on Wednesday afternoon.  The Sheriff's office called the tv stations and asked them to send their reporters to the demonstration one hour after JJ posted the story about the dog's death. 

Well, the Kingfish is used to dealing with this group and knew they would pull something like this in a damage control effort (Notice how they spring up with a drugs, prostitution, or crooked jailer bust whenever they suffer negative publicity.).  JJ submitted a public records request to various local law enforcement agencies for the purchase orders for their heat alarms at the same time the public records request was submitted to HCSO.   

Local law enforcement agencies have been purchasing heat alarms for K-9 units since 2006.  You read that correctly: 2006.  They have been available to law enforcement for nearly twenty years.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office purchased it's first K-9 heat alarm in 2006 at a cost of $1,812.  The alarm included a horn alert, siren activation, light bar activation, and a dual window drop module.  It purchased another one this in April for $800.

The Rankin County Sheriff purchased heat alarms in 2016, 2017, and 2018.  The heat alarms included the same features as the ones purchased by MCSO.

Pearl purchased heat alarms in 2012.  The minutes for the September 4, 2012 Board of Aldermen meeting state:

Order approving and authorizing the purchase of (2) K9 HOT-N-POP, Temperature Alarm, (1) Optional 10" fan for Dodge Charger, (1) Optional 10" fan for Chevy Tahoe, for (3) @$669.00 heat alarm w/hom-siren, for (3) @ $225.00 12" fans and (1) shipping and handling $125.00 for a total cost of $5,235.00.
The Madison Police Department purchased a heat alarm for it's K-9 unit that includes a remote unit.  The alarm causes a pager worn by the officer to beep and vibrate.

JPD did not have any heat alarms installed in its K-9 vehicle but the heat alarm is factory-installed in the K-9 SUV it purchased earlier this year.

Former Hinds County Chief Deputy Chris Picou said a Ford Explorer that was equipped with a heat alarm was used for K-9 officers.  However, the department switched to the Chevy Tahoe  that was not equipped with the alarm.

Kingfish note: People should see yesterday's "demonstration" for what it was.  The Hinds County Sheriff's Office did not install a heat alarm in its K-9 vehicles despite the fact that local law enforcement agencies have been using them since 2006.  There is simply no excuse for this negligence, negligence that is unfortunately not considered to be criminal.  Sheriff Mason sat on the news of Dex's death for a month while he did cute father-son stories for Time magazine.  Make no mistake, the only reason his office informed the media about the dog's horrible death was because this website broke the story. 

Such negligence should not come as a surprise to JJ readers.  One of the first things Sheriff Mason did when he assumed office was box up the 60 body cameras and put them in storage.  He fought the release of weapons qualifications scores for his deputies.  The jail monitor busted him for spending his jail money on other things despite being severely undermanned at the jail.   Once again, the Hinds County Sheriff's Office brings up the rear - after a death is involved.

The Hinds County Sheriff has the largest Sheriff's office and budget in the state.  No excuses and that my friends, is the bottom line. 

One final note.  From what JJ can tell, none of the local media is attempting to find out if local law enforcement agencies use heat alarms and if so, how long have they used them.  Spoon-feeding. 

Madison SO: 1
Rankin SO: 7


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with activating the 'window down' part of the alarm, unless the window only goes down three or four inches. You'd likely have a dog jumping out into traffic or in some unusual cases, a prisoner leaving the vehicle through the window.

But, I agree Mason is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

"They say on the system here that in 90-degree weather, whenever it goes off before 10 min that the inside the vehicle can reach to 160," he said"

That seems like an exaggerated statement. 160 degress ambient temp? Doubtful, maybe on the dash or some other surface. Also, show me a K9 vehicle without tinted windows and an officer who doesn't have the air on cold. Total BS. That dog was in there longer than an hour or something else happened.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to have fun, request the involved vehicle repair records for the weeks preceding and following the event; including any towing bills. If none exist, then clearly there wasn't an issue with the vehicle! Nice thing about vehicles made since 1996, you can plug a laptop into them and retrieve data.

Anonymous said...

How many people have been murdered in the city of Jackson so far this year? 50? 60? Another human falls and there's a collective yawn, but let one dog die and everyone flips the fuck out.

It's like when that dentist shot Cecil the lion and a bunch of dipshit "I WANNA BELONG!" people who had never even heard of that beast got out in the street and marched while demanding the dentist's head, all over a dead animal a half a world away.

Seems like somewhere in the 90s we started valuing animal life over human life. I'm sorry the dog died, but holy shit, it's not like it was a human baby. Move on, people.

Anonymous said...

12:35 You from Canton, Bro? You and Sen. Blackmon are in lock-step..

Anonymous said...

Officers should drive a truck if they have K-9s. The old dog truck box in the back usually worked pretty good for hounds beagles and the like....

Anonymous said...

Victor Victor he's the man. He's the one we're gonna shitcan.

Anonymous said...

12:35 dogs are better people that most other people that live in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

You could just "train" the K9 officers to not leave their "partner" unchecked more than 5-10 minutes. Who are the fools here?

That doesn't cost a dime!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Officers should drive a truck if they have K-9s. The old dog truck box in the back usually worked pretty good for hounds beagles and the like...."

So you want a trained K-9, whose cost and training run in the thousands, to sit in a box in the back of a truck, in heat indexes over 100 degrees?

Hounds and beagles are smaller and hunt in the fall and winter. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Victor Mason is a fucking idiot. He's just like all the other deadbeat politicians in Jackson and Hinds County.

They have no desire to be accountable and / or transparent, because deep down they know they can't do anything right. Total dumbasses.

As usual KF is the only one with the balls to question these low lifes.

Our local chicken shit media is only interested in who used the N word today.

Steve Brandon said...

This is good reporting. Thank you for bringing this story to the public's attention. The unnecessary suffering and loss of this law enforcement service animal is shameful.

Anonymous said...

3:38---- You sir nailed it.

Anonymous said...

This week our President got played like fiddle, and you want talk about a dog?

Anonymous said...

Can’t wait for the next election. We will remove this lying idiot Victor Mason and his crony Pete Luke from the Hinds County SO and put a real leader in office.

Anonymous said...

If Dex the canine was a human, his family would have a massive wrongful death suit!

Anonymous said...

No matter how you feel about K9s - real police officers or just dogs - or even if you don't really like ANY dogs:

A public official not spending $1000.00 _one time_ to forevermore protect "equipment" that would take years and tens of thousands of dollars to replace _against the primary cause of its loss_ (yes, K9s die in service, but this exact thing is the primary cause of death) is, if nothing else, incredibly incompetent management.

If Mason had left a $50,000.00 piece of crime scene analyzing technology on the hood of his vehicle when he drove away, which fell off and was destroyed, what folks say?

If he stopped at Kroger on his way home and left his vehicle running with the door wide open, what would folks say?

If he personally left a crate of fully-automatic rifles sitting on some sidewalk, what would folks say?

Well, here, he saved a one-time $1000 and the monetary loss is somewhere around or north of $100,000 (assuming Dex will be replaced, the HCSO likely had $50,000 or more invested in him and they'll have another $50,000 or more spent by the time they have another Dex). And that piss-poor financial management killed one of the officers for whose safety he is ultimately responsible - no matter your feelings about Dex as a dog, when he died, he was an officer. So folks, whaddya say?

Anonymous said...

7:08PM again:

And before anyone goes there, even assuming the human deputy was completely unfit to be responsible for Dex, be it as a "dog," a fellow officer or as very expensive law enforcement equipment _*and I've not seen or heard anything that remotely substantiates such an assumption*_ that is on Mason, too. If it were true, Mason is ultimately responsible for Dex and the deputy being partners.

I've had the honor and duty of being the head MF'er and it isn't all chorus girls and "business" drinks-n-dinner. You are where the buck, both figuratively and literally, stops, but equally important, you must lead from the front and earn the respect of those you supervise (and if you are the CEO, that is everyone). If you screw up like this, especially a second or third time, a competent board should fire you. I have never met Victor Mason and no desire to do so, but he has clearly demonstrated that he is not fit to manage and is totally incapable of leading the HCSD. Again, a competent board would fire him. Citizens of Hinds County, you are that board. What remains to be seen is whether you are competent.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish - you should look into how many of the surrounding counties have the heat sensors installed. We know Rankin & Madison have them, but what about Scott, Simpson, Warren, etc?

Kingfish said...

I went through the tri-county area. Have to draw a line somewhere.

Kingfish said...

No coverage at all by the Badge Bunny. A stringer at the newspaper finally put up the WAPT story.

Anonymous said...

No reputable, responsible breeder or trainer of dogs used by law enforcement entities should ever knowingly provide dogs to such entity in this miserable so-called state and certainly not to this area of the state ever again. The supposed caretakers of these dogs are obviously too ignorant and irresponsible to be entrusted with their care and safety.

None of your thoughts, prayers or bible-thumping will bring these dogs back to this life or diminish their suffering as they left it.

Anonymous said...

Are officers who are horseback allowed to tie their horse up (anywhere?) and go off for an hour or two and not keep eyes on them? Nop, they either stay with them or go in somewhere for 3-4 minutes then come back to them.

Absolutely crazy to spend hundreds or thousands of $$$ unnecessarily for alarms.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! When did this occur? I just saw it on TV last week.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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