Standing with their K-9 Ruger is the FCI team, from left: Sgt. J. Hubbard, Sgt. G. Colaluca, Sgt. T. McKenzie, Officer L. Pichardo, Sgt. J. Harris and Officer W. McNair. [ FDOC ]
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Franklin Correctional tops in regional K-9 tracking

K-9 tracking teams from 14 Florida Department of Corrections institutions gathered from across the Panhandle to exhibit their superior tracking abilities in Bristol earlier this month.

Taking first was the team from Carrabelle’s Franklin Correctional Institution, with second place going to the team from Chipley’s Northwest Florida Reception Center, and third place to Blountstown’s Calhoun Correctional Institution.

Apalachicola’s Willie McNair, a corrections officer at Franklin Correctional Institution, is a member of the K9 tracking team. [ FDOC ]

The training included various day and night events focused on tracking human scent, conditioning for rough terrain, and distance progression for K-9 tracking teams. The rigorous training of officers and their K-9 partners allows the institutional teams to remain valuable assets to local law enforcement and help keep their local communities safe.

 “I am immensely proud of our K-9 teams and their hard work behind the scenes in preparing to assist emergency calls in our communities,” said Angela Gordon, the Florida Department of Corrections Region I director of institutions. “Our officers’ dedication and commitment to crafting their skills correlates to real lives saved in the community.”

A member of the FCI K9 tracking team takes part in the competition. [ FDOC ]

The K-9 tracking teams are tasked with pursuing escaped inmates; however, such instances have become infrequent in modern times. As a result, these teams are often deployed within communities to aid local law enforcement in capturing dangerous fugitives and finding missing children and vulnerable adults. 

Since January 2023, Region I’s K-9 tracking teams have responded to 266 calls, assisted with 49 fugitive apprehensions, and located 16 missing and vulnerable persons.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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