Ga. police K-9 dies in hot cruiser after air conditioning malfunctions during officer training

K-9 Chase was named after Locust Grove police Officer Chase Maddox, who died in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2018

By Henri Hollis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATLANTA — For the second time in less than two weeks, a K-9 working for a metro Atlanta police department has died of a medical emergency after being left inside a patrol car.

Cobb County police were participating in active shooter training at Allatoona High School on Monday when an officer returned to his patrol car to find K-9 Chase unresponsive around 2 p.m., department spokesman Sgt. Wayne Delk said.

The officer began to perform life-saving measures on Chase and was assisted by other Cobb officers and firefighters who attended the training, Delk said. Chase was eventually taken to an emergency veterinarian clinic, where he died from heat-related injuries.

Chase had been inside the car with the air conditioning running since the training began at 11 a.m., Delk said. Each session lasted 45 minutes with a 15-minute break each hour, and officers had been checking on their K-9s during each break.

At some point during the afternoon, the air conditioning in Chase’s patrol car malfunctioned, Delk said. According to the preliminary investigation, other safety systems in the car did not properly activate and the temperature quickly rose inside.

“This is a horrible incident and our investigators are continuing to gather information regarding the vehicle system failures that led to this tragedy,” Delk said.

The earlier K-9 death took place May 25 and involved a dog working for the Clayton County Police Department. Few details were provided about the nature of the dog′s death, but Clayton police said K-9 Wade suffered a medical emergency inside a patrol car at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport around 2 p.m.

Wade was taken to the nearest Clayton animal control facility, where he was pronounced dead by the veterinarian, police said. Officials have not responded to questions about Wade’s death, including if it was heat-related or how long the dog may have been left in the car.

A Clayton police spokesperson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Wade’s duties included article searches, narcotics searches and tracking people.

Chase, the Cobb K-9, was a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois who started working with the department in April 2020, police said. He was trained for narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, tracking, building searches and evidence recovery. During his career, Chase helped in the seizure of thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs, police said.

According to Cobb police, Chase was named after Locust Grove police Officer Chase Maddox, who died in the line of duty Feb. 9, 2018.

Both cases are being investigated internally by their departments.

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