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The Salisbury Police Department appreciates your patience and passion regarding the recent release of a K-9 training video. The extensive investigation by a third-party agency, US ISS Agency, has concluded. In an effort to restore and maintain the public confidence that has been detrimentally affected by this incident, the Salisbury Police Department would like to share that Officer James Hampton was K-9 Zuul’s handler, and was the officer depicted in the video engaging in inappropriate discipline of Zuul. The Police Department’s review determined that Officer Hampton had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated Police Department policy. As a result, he was recommended for termination. The Police Department followed its disciplinary process, which requires that an employee subject to termination be afforded a due process hearing. Following that hearing, and prior to the Police Department formalizing any disciplinary action, Officer Hampton tendered his resignation, effective immediately. The Police Department did not incentivize or otherwise request Officer Hampton’s resignation, which he tendered as a matter of right.

While we understand the calls for the officer’s immediate termination, city employees are afforded due process which ensures fairness for everyone involved and which can take time.

The Salisbury Police Department will continue to review and make the necessary changes to our K-9 training operations, policies and procedures that align with industry best practices.

K-9 Operations Policy

The Salisbury Police Department has set policies for the organization, administration, service, procedures, training and medical care for our K9 officers.

Read Policy (PDF)

Disciplinary System

The procedure for addressing employee misconduct in a uniform manner, to provide the public with a fair and effective avenue for complaints against Salisbury Police Department or its employees, to protect the department and employees from false allegations, and to ensure that accused employees are treated with procedural objectivity and impartiality.

Read Policy (PDF)

Internal Investigations

Guidelines for conducting Salisbury Police Department administrative investigations. It shall be the policy of the Salisbury Police Department to conduct internal investigations in an impartial and objective manner and to maintain security of related administrative files.

Read Policy (PDF)

What is the status of Zuul?

Zuul is currently resting at a professional canine care facility. Zuul was taken to the veterinarian in Salisbury this week for another checkup and received a clean bill of health.

How old is Zuul?

Zuul is four years old.

What breed is Zuul?

Zuul is a German Shepherd

How many K-9 officers and handlers do you have on staff?

Salisbury Police Department has five K-9s and five handlers.

What is your K-9 Policy?

Please see our Salisbury Police Department K-9 policy below:
Read Policy (PDF)

What is the status of the officer involved?

The officer’s employment status cannot be shared due to N.C. General Statue § 160A.168,, but he has been administratively separated from K-9 Officer Zuul and K-9 operations.

What is Salisbury Police Department’s employee disciplinary policy?

Please see our Salisbury Police Department employee disciplinary policy below:
Read Policy (PDF)

What is Salisbury Police Department’s internal investigation policy?

Please see our internal investigation policy below:
Read Policy (PDF)

How many hours of training must a handler attain before they are assigned a K-9?

Officers must undergo 240 hours of training to be certified as a K-9 handler per the N.C. Police Dog Association. Salisbury K-9 handlers also receive weekly and quarterly training.

How many hours of training must a dog attain before they begin working?

K-9s receives extensive detection and suspect apprehension training prior to its training with the K-9 handler. We estimate that the K-9 receives 95% of its training prior to its pairing with the handler.

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