The police K-9 involved in the June attack of a 13-year-old girl on Prospect Avenue returned to duty two weeks ago, along with his handler, according to the Charlottesville Police Department.
In August, police identified the K-9 as a Dutch shepherd named Ringo, and said while his handler was on administrative leave and doing unrelated training, the dog was being evaluated in the areas of aggression control and obedience by its original trainer, who found no issues.
At the time of the attack, Ringo did not respond to his handler’s commands when he was accidentally released from the back of the patrol car.
Police did not release the name of Ringo’s handler and, even now that this officer has returned to duty, police continue to withhold his name. Charlottesville Police spokesman Steve Upman did not respond to an inquiry about why the officer’s name is not being released.
“The police don’t mind giving out the names and other identifying information about people who have been arrested—people who are presumed innocent,” Jeff Fogel, a Charlottesville attorney who recently sued the city for not releasing police records under the Freedom of Information Act, says. He lost the suit.
“With our recent FOIA request, it looks like the police are not willing to be scrutinized, and no one from the city is going to challenge that,” Fogel says. “Transparency and accountability are just words to them, to be pulled out when useful.”
After the handler accidentally released the K-9 from his patrol vehicle in June, police say he has relocated the door release remote to somewhere on his body, minimizing the chance of another accidental activation.
Ringo was purchased in fall 2013 for $12,000, according to a Charlottesville Police Foundation newsletter.