Lincoln Police Reviewing Canine Bite
The Lincoln Police Department is reviewing an incident that occurred early Wednesday, March 28, 2012. A canine handler and his police service dog were conducting training at 1:25am in Cooper Park, 950 S. 6th Street, when a twenty-two year old female was bit on the left leg. The park is closed at 11pm.
The handler arrived to the area at 12:45am and found a man and woman arguing in the north parking lot. The woman immediately left while the man remained and spoke with the officer about the domestic disturbance. Additional officers were called to the area to interview and locate her. Attempts were also made to contact the woman at her residence, which is a short distance away. Prior to starting the tracking training, officers searched the park on foot for fifteen minutes to ensure that the woman left the area. Unfortunately, either the woman went unnoticed or entered the park after the search. While the public service dog was following a training scent, he found the woman hiding underneath the limbs of an evergreen tree. Though she heard the officers, she made no attempts to call out or disclose her location. Once the dog bit the woman, the canine handler and a sergeant immediately gave commands for an emergency release and physically intervened. The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated and released for her injuries.
The woman later disclosed that she was fearful of her male companion. She reported that a domestic assault occurred earlier in the evening and she was hiding from him. An investigation into that incident is on-going.
Canine training exercises are routinely conducted in the parks during overnight hours. The parks are closed at that time which minimizes the likelihood for disruption or injury to citizens. Protocol was followed in preparing for this training exercise; however, the Lincoln Police Department is reviewing internal policies to prevent similar incidents.