Gainesville City Manager Pulls GPD Canine Unit Out of Service

Published on March 03, 2023


While voicing continued support for the Gainesville Police Department and its officers, Gainesville City Manager Cynthia W. Curry is temporarily removing from service the department’s Canine (K-9) Unit until further review.

“As always, public safety comes first. I am not denying the usefulness of a well-coordinated K-9 Unit. However, based on recent information, this affords us the opportunity to reassess how best to serve our neighbors. We will involve the community going forward,” said Ms. Curry.

This change comes at a time when the city is scrutinizing many of its operations and programs. As staff compose the budget for Fiscal Year 2024, the K-9 Unit will be reevaluated.

The City Manager’s decision comes after several months of internal work to reestablish the unit as a contributing element of the police force. Gainesville Police Chief Lonnie Scott put the unit on hiatus in late 2022 following an unexpected change in leadership.

Last week, Chief Scott announced the K-9 Unit’s return to regular duty status following a staff restructuring. The City Manager then requested more information and, after careful consideration of all aspects of this complex issue, made the decision announced today.

Chief Scott says, “During this time, we will reassign the officers based on the best needs of the department. The canines will remain in the care of their handlers until such time a decision is made.”

The city’s new Public Safety Committee met for the first time on Monday and set further conversation about the K-9 Unit as the subject of the March 27 meeting. As part of the discussion, Committee Chair Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker stressed the need for transparency and communication.

“I know that in our recent conversations regarding the K-9 unit that issue came back around. And so I am interested in having a conversation about what we might be able to do to give our neighbors and citizens of Gainesville the opportunity to engage with us about the issues that are happening in the community,” Duncan-Walker said.

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