Chief Whitehead said he convened a review panel consisting of himself and a sergeant who is the firearms instructor for the Woodville Police Department, as well as the chiefs of the Clyde, Gibsonburg, and Elmore police departments. The panel spoke with Officer Gilkerson; Mrs. Bischoff’s husband, Tom; and the dog wardens from Ottawa and Sandusky counties before determining the officer did not violate department policy or state law.
“Officer Gilkerson has a tremendous love for animals,” Chief Whitehead said. “At no point in our careers as officers do we hope to pull a firearm and have to shoot anyone or anything. I hope people take into consideration that this is unfortunate for everybody involved, but it was a decision that officer had to make within a split second.”
In April, 2013, Officer Gilkerson and his then-new K-9 partner, Raider, greeted members of the public. In response to a question, he told the crowd, “I have been afraid of dogs my whole life that I don’t know. I’m comfortable with dogs I do know.”
Chief Whitehead said the officers do not receive training in how to deal with dogs they come across during the course of their duties. He said Officer Gilkerson has undergone extensive training with Raider and several other area K-9 units and has never shown any fear.
FK – Not sure what they can do legally since the dog wasn’t on a leash but how about exercising some common sense? If you have to have ‘training’ to know a friendly dog from a vicious one maybe you don’t need a badge or any authority over anyone.
Since they’re our employees not our masters the ‘review panels’ need to be made up of civilians and maybe elected public servants, if they can be trusted.