LBPD Reveals It Opened Criminal Investigation (Independently Sought From DA By A Number Of LB Animal Supporters) After K9 "Ozzy's" Death...And DA Is Now Reviewing LBPD's Initial Criminal Investigative File
|(Sept. 24, 2019, 8:20 p.m.) -- LBPD has issued a statement (full text below) updating developments regarding the death of LBPD K9 (police dog) "Ozzy." In the statement, LBPD reveals that in addition to an internal affairs investigation ("in progress") it also opened a separate criminal investigation (that remains "open and ongoing") and on Sept. 13 presented the initial criminal investigative file to the L.A. County District Attorney's Justice System Integrity Division for review.
On the afternoon of August 14, Ozzy was found deceased by his handler in the handler's LBPD-issued K9 vehicle when both were off-duty. A veterinarian subsequently determined the death to be heat-related.
In August, a number of LB animal supporters independently sent a letter to DA Jackie Lacey seeking a criminal investigation of the matter.
With the LBPD's initial criminal investigative file now in hand, the DA's office is apparently reviewing the matter...as LBPD's Sept. 24 statement text indicates that the DA's office will notify LBPD "when it completes its review." (LBREPORT.com was unable to reach the DA's office for further at the end of today's business day.)
LBPD's statement also indicates that it completed a review of all of its K-9 vehicles "to verify both the cooling and warning systems are properly functioning" and all K-9 handlers "will continue to check their Heat System Controller prior to every shift as a part of daily protocols."
LBPD's update notes that Ozzy was a drug detection K9 operating out of its Investigations Bureau. LBPD says Ozzie's handler involved in the incident has been temporarily reassigned within its Investigations Bureau.
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LBPD's statement also indicates:
As a result of this tragic incident, the department completed a review of all our K-9 vehicles to verify both the cooling and warning systems are properly functioning. In addition, all K-9 handlers will continue to check their Heat System Controller prior to every shift as a part of daily protocols. Additionally, as part of our department's employee wellness efforts, counseling services are available to any employee who wishes to utilize this resource.
And LBPD's statement adds: "Our K-9 partners remain a valuable part of the Police Department and we are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being at all times."
In an August 23 message to the community, LBPD stated that on August 14 at about 3:40 p.m., Ozzie's handler found him deceased inside the handler's LBPD-issued K9 vehicle when both were off-duty. A veterinarian examination of Ozzie and preliminary results determined the death to be heat-related. LBPD said in its Aug. 23 statement that its K9 vehicles are outfitted with "fail/safe equipment that is meant to generate an alert" and at that time believed "the alert may not have been working."
LBPD's full Sept. 24 update is below.
[LBPD Sept. 24 statement text]
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