WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Deputy, who is also a K9 handler, said the death of a Wichita police K9 officer has struck a chord with him.
“We come to the point where we trust those dogs, to some point, with our lives,” said Deputy Lucas Powell.
Powell has been a K9 handler with Sedgwick County for several years.
“My dad was a dog handler in the Army so that gave me some initial interest in it,” Powell said. “Once I was selected for the position, I realized how much fun it was to work with them and all of the training we can put into them and the tasks that we can have them do.”
Powell has been working with his K9 partner, Mongo, for about two years.
“We take care of the dogs 100 percent, take them to the vet, groom them, bathe them, all the stuff. They are with us 24-hours a day,” he said.
Powell said when he and Mongo aren’t at home or training they are often out on crime scenes together.
“Say we are looking for a bad guy or suspect that has committed some kind of heinous crime, we can send him out in front of us to search for him and locate him which gives us distance,” Powell said.
It was a situation similar to that over the weekend when Wichita police sent their K9, named Rooster, after suspect Kevin Perry.
“K9 Rooster was deployed to keep him from going back into the house as he had committed a violent felony and we don’t like subjects to go back into the house,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. ”
Ramsay said after Rooster was deployed officers noticed a gun on Perry’s hip.
“About that time the subject turned back around toward the officers and began reaching for his gun,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay said officers then opened fire. Perry was shot and killed. After reviewing scene video, Ramsay said investigators believe Perry shot and killed Rooster as he was retreating.
“It is unfortunate for everybody involved,” Ramsay said.
For Powell, the Rooster’s death is a reminder of how strong the bond is between a handler and their K9.
“We know it’s a dangerous thing we are going into. These dogs are 100 percent loyal to their handler and willing to go into those situations with us,” Powell said.