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Hero Down: Cobb County Police K9 Chase Dies After Patrol Car Safety Cooling System Failure

Acworth, GA – Cobb County Police Department (CCPD) K9 Chase died in the line of duty on Monday after the safety cooling systems in his handler’s patrol vehicle failed to properly activate.

The incident occurred at the Allatoona High School located on Dallas Acworth Highway shortly after 2 p.m. on June 5, the CCPD said in a press release on Tuesday.

An active shooter training being held at the school began at 11 a.m. that morning.

Officers had been going outside every hour on the hour for 15-minute breaks to check on their K9 partners who were secured in their kennels inside their patrol vehicles with the air conditioning running, according to the CCPD.

“At some point after the previous check, the air conditioning system malfunctioned in Officer Neill’s patrol vehicle,” the police department said. “Preliminary information indicates that other safety systems did not properly activate, and the temperature quickly rose in the vehicle.”

If the air conditioning system in the patrol vehicle fails and the temperature rises too high, a safeguard is supposed to activate the vehicle’s lights and sirens, turn on a fan, and roll down the windows, the CCPD said in a subsequent press release on Wednesday.

The handler should then receive a notification so they know to go to the patrol vehicle to handle the problem.

“Unfortunately, this vehicle had multiple failures, the alert system did not activate, and the handler was not alerted about an issue until they returned to the vehicle to check on the canine,” the CCPD said.

When Officer Neill found K9 Chase unresponsive inside the patrol vehicle, he immediately began rendering “life-saving measures” with the assistance of fellow officers and Cobb County Fire Department personnel, according to the police department.

K9 Chase was subsequently rushed to a nearby emergency veterinarian clinic, where he succumbed to his heat-related injuries.

“This is a horrible incident, and our investigators continue to gather information regarding the vehicle system failures that led to this tragedy,” the CCPD said.

The four-year-old Belgian Malinois served the CCPD for just over three years, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He was named after Locust Grove Police Officer Chase Maddox, who was fatally shot in the line of duty while helping to serve a search warrant just days before K9 Chase was born, WSBT reported.

K9 Chase was a dual-purpose K9 trained for tracking, criminal apprehension, narcotics detection, evidence recovery, and building searches.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cobb County Police Department and Officer Neill in the loss of K9 Chase.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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