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.