HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. – A Hopkinsville police officer has been suspended, and a K-9 removed from the department after the dog attacked a 6-year-old girl.
The attack happened the night of May 15th. Kelis and her brother L.J. were at the Millbrooke Elementary School playground when a police officer arrived at the school to let his K-9 “Eddie” take a break in the adjoining field.
Police say something attracted the dog’s attention, and despite the officer's attempt to stop the dog, he ran toward the playground, and bit Kelis multiple times. The handling officer worked to pull the dog off the her. She was taken to the hospital, and is recovering from her injuries.
The Hopkinsville police department immediately launched an investigation into the incident. Eddie was removed from the force and his handling officer was suspended one week without pay and removed from the K-9 unit.
“I’ve been here 13 years and I’ve never seen something like this,” said Clayton Sumner, Chief of the Hopkinsville Police Department. “I hope to never see it again.”
Kelis’s father said he believed the incident could have been prevented.
“There are hundreds of yards out here for the officer to play with the dog,” said Levar Daniel. “Why did he throw the ball toward the playground?”
Chief Sumner acknowledged the department is taking steps to ensure a similar incident doesn’t happen again.
“We obviously need to make sure our handlers are making a better decision on scanning the area where they are going to let their dog take a break,” said Chief Sumner. “No one wanted this to happen. We are thankful she is doing better and wasn’t injured worse.”
Daniel said his little girl is tough and she will bounce back from the scary ordeal.
“She’s doing a lot better,” said Daniel. “She is out running around. It’s just the nightmares now. She wakes up in the middle of the night crying.”
The police department will pay all of Kelis's medical bills.