Published on: Thursday, October 15, 2020 News

City Manager Statement Regarding Marshall Project Article

I appreciate the work of the Marshall Project in its many efforts, including the recent series on Police K9s. One article in the series focuses on a terrible accident in 2018 when a Takoma Park Police dog bit a woman who was out for a walk with her boyfriend and dog in Washington, D.C. at the border with Takoma Park, Maryland. Our Takoma Park Police officers immediately provided aid to the victim. The City of Takoma Park provided information for the investigation of the incident undertaken by the District of Columbia, undertook our own thorough investigation, and provided information to our insurance carrier regarding the case. Neither the K9 involved in the incident, nor the dog’s handler, works for Takoma Park at this time.

While that incident was the only such incident in the 29 year history of the K9 program of the Takoma Park Police Department, it was a traumatic incident. A major reason the City of Takoma Park instituted a K9 unit in 1991 was to minimize having K9s from other police agencies, with different standards on use and control, in Takoma Park. Currently, the Takoma Park Police Department has one police dog. Whether or not the City of Takoma Park should continue to have a K9 program is part of the charge of a Reimagining Public Safety Task Force being formed in Takoma Park. The primarily Black and Brown membership of the Task Force will provide recommendations on this subject to the Takoma Park City Council, with recommendations to be provided by June 2021.

A copy of the questions asked by a reporter for the Marshall Project is here; the responses to the questions are provided.