End of Watch: December 26, 2000
Ando and his handler, Officer Jim Davison, of the LaGrange Police Canine Unit, LaGrange, GA, were assigned to the patrol division. K9 Ando was trained in patrol and narcotics detection. They assisted the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) serving search warrants and apprehending wanted criminals. They also patrolled high crime areas of the city and proactively enforced all laws of the state of Georgia. The team also gave canine lectures and demonstrations to the public and assisted other law enforcement agencies when requested. Ando was one of four canine teams in the LaGrange Police Department and will be greatly missed by all the members of the department. Ando gave his best whenever called on and loved his job and his handler; he was a great tracker and loved the hunt and catching the bad guys. Some of the highlights of his career included assisting in the apprehension of two murders, four bank robbers and one of the US Marshall's most wanted fugitives. His loss is a great tragedy to the community and the LaGrange Police canine unit.
On December 26, 2000 at about 8:30pm a patrol officer observed a vehicle with no license plate and no seat belts in use riding around in a high drug area of the city. The officer initiated a traffic stop but the vehicle refused to stop and a pursuit began and lasted for about a mile, ending on a dead end street with both occupants leaving the vehicle and running from the officer into a wooded area. Officer Davison and Ando responded to assist and began to track the driver. A good perimeter was established but normally our canine teams have no cover officer on tracking incidents because of the lack of manpower. To have a good perimeter we have to give up the cover officer, as was the case for this incident. Ando tracked hard and located a pair of jeans the driver was wearing. As the team continued to track the suspect could be heard moving through the brush about fifty yards ahead of the team. Numerous verbal warnings about the use of the canine were given to the suspect with no response. The groundcover got thicker and thicker as the team continued to track the suspect and Officer Davison decided to go into a directed search off leash. Officer Davison gave numerous verbal warnings about the deployment of the canine off leash and then began to send Ando out to search a very densely wooded area. Ando went out and recalled twice and was sent out a third time but did not return. Officer Davison called Ando several times with no response. Nothing could be heard at all. No barking no yelling, nothing. Officer Davison began to search for his canine, sensing something was wrong, and alerted perimeter officers of the situation. The other three canine teams with the LaGrange Police department were called out and together they began to search the wooded area for about six hours concentrating the search in the area within the perimeter. At about five o'clock in the morning Officer Davison began searching outside the perimeter area and located his canine partner Ando in a creek bed, deceased from what appeared to be drowning. Ando was still wearing his collar and black nylon tracking harness with the words "POLICE" on each side. Further investigation at the crime scene revealed the suspect's footprints, a camouflaged ear warmer, and a black leather jacket that was soaking wet and had creek sand in the pockets. This location was a little over one hundred yards from the area Officer Davison had released Ando.
LaGrange detectives began an investigation and arrested a twenty-year-old male on December 28, 2000. The suspect had multiple dog bites and scratches on his legs and arms, but refused to talk about the incident. The investigation revealed that the suspect has a history of drug arrests, obstructing Police and that he had exchanged crack cocaine for the use of the vehicle in the crime. The suspect was charged with numerous traffic charges, obstruction and killing a police canine, which is a five-year felony and a $10,000.00 fine under Georgia criminal code. Officer Davison will remain dedicated to the canine unit and will be selecting a new canine partner in February.