With only a few weeks until his retirement, Ventnor Police Chief, Doug Biagi was tasked with another tough decision. Does Ventnor really need a K9 division?
As is typical, Chief Doug Biagi took time to clearly explain his decision making process in regards to retiring Ventnor’s K9 police dog unit.
VCPD Chief, Doug Biagi, is a 35-year veteran of the force. Born and raised in Ventnor.
The following is recent social media post by Ventnor Police Chief, Doug Biagi:
I don’t normally respond to news articles or blogs unless they are so far off base that it creates a narrative that completely misses the point and or creates an atmosphere of negative thoughts, anxiety, or concern with the public.
With that said the recent decision to retire the Ventnor City Police Dept. K-9 unit was one that was not taken lightly, was not a knee jerk reaction and most importantly does not affect the services the Ventnor City Police Dept. has always provided to it residents and visitors.
The K-9 Unit was comprised of 2 officers, both supervisors, a Lieutenant, and an Acting Sergeant. Their positions first and foremost are responsible for the operation of their shift.
The mandatory training required, days off, vacation time and sick time make it impossible to cover the city 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That leaves a huge gap in the coverage of K-9 officers for our city.
Serious incidents have occurred in Ventnor where a K-9 could have been utilized and may have resulted in a different ending, however the timing of these incidents coincided with the K-9 officers not being available for various reasons.
K-9’s are used for a number of reasons in police work. The majority of Ventnor’s K-9’s were utilized for CDS detection, specifically marijuana. These CDS detections account for almost 60% of our K-9s documented activity.
Last year New Jersey legalized marijuana which subsequently took K-9s out of the narcotics detection business. On top of that the Attorney General has made the use of K-9s more restrictive on their deployment and use as a mechanical weapon or tool of Law Enforcement.
The K-9 Unit was never going to be like other larger city’s K-9 units, the volume of calls it was to be used for never materialized and their use versus availability never seemed to be on the same page.
I decided to do some research, investigate alternatives, and deploy.Police Chief Biagi
Over the past 6 months I have had the entire patrol division trained on the use of Controlled Energy Devices, commonly known as Tasers.
These tasers are on the streets right now and will be readily available 24/7/365.
The CED (Taser) is another mechanical tool, that is approved by the state and county for use and is on the same Force Continuum as a K-9 is. So rather than have only 2 officers trained with a K-9, I have the entire department trained with the Taser, which allows every hour of every day to have an officer carrying a Taser.
Once this training was completed, I began the process of retiring the K-9 Unit. One of the K-9s was nearing the end of its viable usefulness and both members of the K-9 Unit were moving into more permanent careers in Patrol Supervision and Administration within the department.
I just wanted to share my thought process and stop the false narrative that this was trending.
This was a decision that by law only the Chief of Police can make. This decision was supported by my administrative staff and the Commissioner of Public Safety, but again can only be legally made by the Chief of Police.
Times are rapidly changing for Law Enforcement. Compromise and innovation need to be in everyone’s thought process. The Ventnor Police Department has always been there for its citizens and visitors and always will be.
We will find new and better ways to service the public when laws or guidelines change.
We are your public servants.
Respectfully, Chief Biagi