Police Retiring K-9 Officers Following Departure Of Two Officers

Left to right: Officer Baize with K-9 Ammo and Officer Soward with K-9  Nox. Left to right: Officer Baize with K-9 Ammo and Officer Soward with K-9 Nox.

Police Retiring K-9 Officers Following Departure Of Two Officers Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 27 February 2019 16:39

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council adopted a resolution during their February 26th, workshop meeting to retire two Police K-9's following the resignations of two officers earlier this month.

The Carolina Beach Police Department has ten positions open for officers.

Another officer resigned from the Carolina Beach Police Department on February 15th. That follows the resignations of four officers earlier this month and the departure of two other officers in recent months. That's in addition to three budgeted positions that had yet to be filled.

Sergeant Stephen Baize resigned from the Police Department effective February 15, 2019. Cpl. Dexter Soward resigned effective February 14th. Both officers served in the K-9 Unit.

Sergeant Baize served with K-9 Ammo and Cpl. Soward served with K-9 Nox.

Police Chief Chris Spivey explained Town staff agreed it would be in the best interest of the Town for the K-9 Nox to retire and remain with his handler. Mr. Soward assumes all responsibility and care for Nox.

Town staff agreed it would be in the best interest of the Town for the K-9 Ammo to retire and remain with his handler. Mr. Baize assumes all responsibility and care for Ammo.

The Council approved Resolution 19-2199 retiring Police K-9 Nox and relinquishing all liability and care to his handler Granger Dexter Soward, Jr. and retiring K-9 Ammo and relinquishing all liability and care to his handler Stephen Lee Baize.

Former Police Chief Ken Hinkle first introduced Ammo and Nox to the Town Council during their January 13th, 2015 meeting. Due to budget constraints at the time a fund-raiser was organized in early 2014 by Stefanie Juel. Other local residents and business owners began helping with the effort.

Depending on the breed and purpose - such as narcotics or explosives - the cost for a professionally trained K-9 varies but can be as much as $10,000 to $12,000 dollars with a lifespan of around eight years.

According to the National Police Dog Foundation, depending on health status, K-9's usually retire around 10 years of age.

During the February 26th, workshop Councilman Jodan Garza asked, "How long did we have these K-9's in service?"

Chief Spivey explained, "Typically K-9's have a service life anywhere between eight to ten years. These dogs are almost eight this Spring. By the time that we did have new handlers trained to encompass that. We are looking at quite a few months. It's not necessarily training the dog, it may be training the handler. K-9's are also known for being very connected to the trainer that have basically become a part of their family."

Garza asked if the Department plans to replace the K-9's or phase out the program.

Spivey explained, "At some point that's a possibility. That wasn't a focus we were jumping on tomorrow."

He said in the interim the Department has agreements with the Sheriff's Department and the Kure Beach Police Department for K-9 services if they need to request it.

One of the four officers that resigned in early February is Corporal Stewart Henderson who has served as the designated school resource officer (SRO) at the Carolina Beach Elementary School since 2013. He is going to work for the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department.

During a meeting of the Carolina Beach Town Council on February 12th, residents and students of Carolina Beach Elementary  spoke in favor of the Town working with the Sheriff's Office to place Henderson back at the school to continue serving as a SRO officer.

Henderson is a popular role model for the kids, patrolling the school from open to close and spending a lot of his extra time away from duty with the students, following some up to the junior high and high school level, volunteering his time for sporting events and coordinating with School Resource Officers at those schools to make sure the people he's invested his elementary school years with are still doing well.

On Monday February 4th, Henderson said he's taken a position at another law enforcement agency because, "The direction of the department wasn't in line with my career goals. So I'm seeking other opportunities with another agency and will be going to work at the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department in the School Resource Officer (SRO) Unit."

In recent months two officers - Samantha Macon and Eric Tello - left the department and went to work at the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department.

Earlier this month four officers - including Stewart Henderson - resigned effective Feb. 14th and 15th. Those officers are Dexter Soward, Steve Dillion, and Aaron Naughton. All of those officers - as well as Macon and Tello - made personal decisions to work at the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department.

Sergeant Stephen Baize resigned from the Police Department effective February 15, 2019.

That's a total of seven officers in recent months that have resigned from the department. The department already had three open positions for officers which brings to total of vacant positions to ten.

New Hanover County Sheriff's Office has said they will add Carolina Beach Elementary School to their SRO program on a rotation patrols schedule that is already in place for all County Schools so there is an SRO presence at Carolina Beach Elementary on a daily basis.

Mayor Joe Benson said he spoke with Sheriff Ed McMahon following the February 12th, meeting and explained there will be no full time SRO position filled by the Sheriff's Officer for Carolina Beach Elementary School stating, "It would be rotating... Full-time SROs would require Council to add the cost" of about $50,000 a year to the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.

He explained, "Apparently there are 2 full-time positions at elementary schools, and those positions are municipal-funded."

On Friday February 22nd, Chief Spivey sent an email to Town personnel explaining, "As you are aware, our new Town Manager, Mr. Lucky Narain,  starts work on Monday, February 25, 2019. You are also aware that the Police Department is in the process of recruiting for multiple vacancies. The final hiring/appointment decision for any position at the Town rests with the Town Manager.  The Town Manager also has a say in approving the language in the Police Department Policy Manual.   The decision has been made to suspend all further Police Department recruiting and promotional processes until such time as Mr. Narain is onboard at Carolina Beach and has an opportunity to thoroughly review the recruiting and selection process and policies and provide his approval of these policies and procedures.    Once the Town Manager has completed this review and made any changes to policies and procedures he believes are necessary, the Police Department will publish the policies and provide all Officers with a copy of them.   At that time, recruiting will resume and all vacancies will be re-announced and re-posted."

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