Hero Down: Columbia Police K9 Turbo Dies After Being Left In Hot Car

Columbia Police K9 Turbo died in the line of duty on July 28.

Columbia, SC Columbia Police K9 Turbo died in the line of duty of a "heat-related work injury" on July 28, two days after he was left alone in a patrol vehicle for eight hours while his handler attended a training.

I guess the simplest way for me to start is to acknowledge that we made some mistakes, Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said during a press conference on Aug. 23, The State reported.

The incident occurred on July 26, while Columbia Police Officer David Hurt was attending an active shooter training at C.A. Johnson High School.

Before he went into the training, Officer Hurt parked his patrol vehicle in the shade, opened the vehicles back windows, and turned the air conditioning on, Chief Holbrook explained.

Like other K9 handlers at the training, officer left his partner, K9 Turbo, in the vehicle due to the loud noises and crowds that would be present inside the school, WXIN reported.

For unknown reasons, Officer Hurt deactivated the vehicles heat alarm, which would have caused a horn and siren to go off and an on-person alarm to be activated if the vehicle reached a certain temperature, according to The State.

He didnt give any logical reason for why he deactivated the heat alarm, Holbrook said.

While other K9 handlers checked on their partners throughout the day, Officer Hurt did not, the chief said.

Officer Hurt did ask another officer to check on K9 Turbo at approximately 11:30 a.m., and the officer later reported back that the K9 was doing fine, The State reported.

According to WXIN, the temperature in Columbus reached 94 degrees Fahrenheit that day.

When Officer Hurt returned to his patrol vehicle at 3:30 p.m., he noticed that K9 Turbo was having difficultly standing and was panting heavily while foaming at the mouth, The State reported.

He immediately rushed K9 Turbo to a veterinarian, where he was diagnosed with organ failure.

Two days later, K9 Turbo was euthanized following the heat-related work injury, Chief Holbrook said.

In the wake of K9 Turbos death, Officer Hurt was suspended from the departments bomb squad for six months, and was removed as a K9 officer.

He was also suspended without pay for a period of five days.

Officer Hurt was very emotionally attached, Chief Holbrook said, according to The State. This is not something that just goes away. This is something hell live with.

He said that Officer Hurt and his family were heartbroken over the incident, WXIN reported.

Its like losing a partner or a family member, the chief said. It is devastating.

The investigation into K9 Turbos death was reviewed by the 5th Circuit solicitors office and the State Law Enforcement Division, the chief said.

The review concluded there was no criminal intent, and Officer Hurt will not face charges in connection with the K9s death.

Chief Holbrook said the department has implemented changes to help ensure the safety of K9s left in patrol vehicles in the future.

Handlers are now prohibited from deactivating vehicle heat alarms, and must check on their K9 partners every hour. The department is also creating a standardized temperature for the heat alarms in each K9 vehicle, he said.

K9 Turbo, a 2-year-old Labrador Retriever, specialized in explosive detection.

He served with the Columbus Police Department for seven months, and cost the agency approximately $25,000, Chief Holbrook said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Columbia Police Department in the loss of K9 Turbo.

Comments
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Antonia1928
Antonia1928

This Officer's loss is not only tragic but despicable and totally senseless. Officer Turbo should have been checked on every several hours. I am a dog lover but have genuine respect for K9's. His trainer should be held responsible for Turbo's death. The story is a bunch of excuses and fluff. For shame.

angeleyes
angeleyes

this is ridiculous. The "officer" should be charged the same as if a thug had killed the K9. What is wrong with the k9 partners that do this. way too many k9s are being killed this way. Why on earth did he turn off the heat sensor? I hope he never is a k9 handler ever again. The poor K9 being killed by his so called partner. hes so sad. So what. He killed him and should be charged damn it. At the very least suspended and never allowed to have a K9 partner. I'm so mad about this kind of thing happening too much. Charge him. LEOs are called to break a window to save a dog or child locked in a car, and their owner/parents are charged, but not an LEO doing the same thing, not being charged.

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Other handlers checked on their dogs but he never did?? And he deactivated the heat alarm for no reason??? Bull crap!!! That poor dog suffered!! He should never get another K9 and pay a fine for his callous behavior!!

DWT
DWT

Why did this knucklehead even bring his dog if he was in training all day. Charge him! Then fire him!

nenasmiller
nenasmiller

That poor pup baked to death. It makes me sick. And I agree with DWT on the question of WHY these officers would have the dogs at a session that lasted hours just to sit in the cars...very poorly thought out plan.