WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) WILKES-BARRE POLICE Officials are responding to questions regarding two recent arrests of criminal suspects by one of its K-9 units.
Both incidents were caught on camera and some have criticized police for using their canines, claiming it was excessive force. The I-Team's Andy Mehalshick has the story.
The first cell phone video taken on the afternoon of July 18th on Wilkes-Barre's Public Square..You can see a K-9 and an officer trying to subdue a man who is on the ground...
Officers say the man was drinking alcohol and when asked for identification became unruly.
Investigators say he resisted arrest and would not follow the officer's commands.
On July 26..Eyewitness News was on the scene on South Franklin street when a K-9 officer brought down this man..
He was wanted on numerous charges including assault and terroristic threats..
He allegedly stole a car and then fled on foot when police closed in..
The incidents became a flash point on social media - criticism the dogs were un-necessary.
"They are just doing their jobs and they are continuing to do their jobs." Said WIlkes-Barre Police Chief Marcella Lendacky.
The police chief and two commanders spoke out today in defense of the K-9 units..
"i want to be perfectly clear - their actions are according to their training they regularly receive ongoing bi-weekly. Supporting our policy and we stand behind them 100 percent." said Lendacky
Chief Lendacky says video of the arrest on Public Square does not tell the whole story..
"From what I understand no one has come forward with a video that shows something prior to what already was posted . We do have people coming forward making statements they say what led to it. We stand by the officers 100 percent."
Commanders Ron Foy and Joe Coffay say the K-9's are out there to act as a deterrent but will be used if necessary..
"Simple rule. If police are chasing you and you are wanted don't run, don't fight with police. The best thing to do if there is some sort of mix-up we can sort it out and you'll be on your way. Do what police tell you t do and you don't have to worry about it." said Commander Ron Foy, Wilkes-Barre Police
"They wouldn't be out there unless they were highly trained." Said Coffay, Wilkes-Barre Police.
The same K-9 officer was involved in both arrests. Chief Lendacky said no complaints have been filed