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An officer with the Jonesboro Police Department has been suspended after his unleashed K-9 partner ran toward gunfire at a shooting range and another officer shot the dog in the shoulder, officials said.

Police Chief Rick Elliott said Tuesday that he suspended officer Jason Myers after he took his police dog Rocket to a shooting range late last month.

Officials said the dog ignored its trainer's commands, ran out of a vehicle into gunfire and lunged at an officer before it was shot.

Elliott issued a written reprimand and suspended Myers for one day without pay, saying Myers should have put a leash on the dog despite believing that the shooting exercises had stopped.

"Myers has been an exemplary K-9 handler for many years, but because of the outcome of this incident, a suspension is warranted," the department said in a statement.

The dog was released from an animal hospital after undergoing surgery, and a full recovery is expected.

The shooting prompted city leaders to examine how the Police Department releases information, after receiving community criticism that mainly dealt with the delay in detailing publicly what happened.

Mayor Harold Perrin vowed to make all incident reports available on the department's website. City officials haven't set a timetable for the changes.

The shooting happened April 30, but police didn't release information about it until last week. NEA Report, an online news site covering northeast Arkansas, first reported the shooting.

A police spokesman blamed the delay in releasing information on an internal investigation, which concluded Tuesday.

State Desk on 05/16/2019

Print Headline: Police dog shot at range; handler suspended a day

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