Deputy’s K-9 finds missing, ill man

Published 6:01 pm Friday, October 17, 2008

Koti, a black German shepherd member of the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, once again used his tracking skills to possibly save the life of a Miller County man who had reportedly overdosed on prescription medication and wandered away from home.

According to a Miller County Sheriff’s Department report, the white male had engaged in a domestic altercation with a couple on Brinson Road near Colquitt.

Miller County deputies said the man, identified only as Bernard, then swallowed approximately 30 lithium pills and left the residence. Realizing that Bernard was apparently in a suicidal mood and uncertain of his whereabouts, the family at the home notified the Miller County Sheriff’s Office and also the Emergency Medical Service. Thinking that the missing man might be wandering toward a relative’s house on U.S. 27 South in Decatur County, the officers requested a K-9 unit from Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin for assistance in the search.

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Cpl. Michael Logue, the handler of his K-9 dog, Koti, hurried to the residence where the man was last seen.

Koti tracked Bernard about the yard and stopped at a fence beside a wooded area, where he began barking. Barnard, who was lying in some high grass, raised up and said, “Well, you’ve got me,” and surrendered.

Koti continued to bark as the man was taken to the ambulance and rushed to Miller County Hospital for treatment from the overdose of medication.

Officers praised the dog for quickly locating the missing man before he succumbed to the overdose of medication.

“I am very proud of my dog,” said Logue. “He performed most efficiently in tracking and locating the missing man in a very short period to time. This is the second time that he has successfully tracked a potential suicide victim and located them in time for them to be taken into custody and treated.”

“Koti has definitely proved to be an asset to our department,” commented Sheriff Griffin.” He and his handler, Cpl. Logue, along with Sgt. Ed Moorhead and his Labrador retriever, Jake, are constantly working to reduce the drug traffic and help protect the citizens of Decatur County.

Koti, who is six years old, was acquired from the Quincy, Fla., Police Department several years ago. He is certified in drug detection as well as tracking, and has helped the officers locate drugs in vehicles and on persons in traffic stops as well as in building searches.

Logue says that Koti is very protective of him, as evidenced during a recent arrest Logue made.

The traffic stop made by the deputy ended in the driver crashing his vehicle into a ditch. Taking Koti on leash, Logue approached the driver and placed him under arrest. As he was placing handcuffs on the driver, the man made a sudden movement with his free hand as though to resist arrest. Unbidden by his handler, the dog, sitting nearby, saw the man’s sudden movement and leaped up to seize his arm near the elbow. As another deputy, Steve Black, arrived to assist with the prisoner, Logue ordered Koti to release his grip on the man’s arm, a command which he obeyed instantly, and the K-9 officer was returned to his kennel in the back of Logue’s patrol car.

Both Koti and Jake, Moorhead’s yellow Lab, not only engage in active law enforcement work with their human partners, but are also used by the handlers to present educational demonstrations for schools and other groups.

Moorhead and Logue with their canine partners (who also wear badges), form the PACE (Pro-Action Criminal Enforcement) team and work under the direct supervision of Sheriff Griffin.