Mills Police Chief Responds To K9 Death Situation
The Mills Police Chief has responded saying the incident involving the deaths of one of the department's K9s is unacceptable.
Chief Bryon Preciado says when he learned about what had happened, the department did its own investigation, to deal with the personnel issue,
The Department then brought in the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigations for the criminal aspect of it, and charges came from the Natrona County District Attorney's Office.
"We're not trying to hide anything, we're just trying to wait for the investigation to take its due process on the investigation. I could have sat back and said 'you know what, this dog died, natural causes, go back to work.' I didn't do that. We took the high road."
Preciado says the department has suspended the K9 program and is reviewing policies regarding it.
He adds that if anyone has any issue or questions with charges that were or were not filed in the case, to contact the Natrona County DA's office.
The following is a press release issued by the Mills Police Department:
The Mills Police Department is grieving the loss of our K-9 drug detection dog Nyx. We are doing our best to move forward following this tragedy.
In stead of dwelling on mistakes, we are choosing to remember Nyx for the many contributions that she gave during her many years of service with our department.
In regard to the officer in question, and the investigation into the death of K-9 Nyx, an internal disciplinary investigation was conducted by supervisors of the Mills Police Department.
Appropriate disciplinary action was taken in regard to this incident.
In situations involving officers, where criminal action is a possibility, it is the police of the Mills Police Department to refer the criminal investigation to an outside agency.
In this case, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) was contacted and conducted the criminal investigation.
The Mills Police Department cooperated with, and continues to cooperate with, investigating agents from DCI, as well as the Natrona County District Attorney's Office.
The Mills Police Department has had no input, or influence, into what charges were recommended, or filed with the Natrona County District Attorney's Office.
The Mills Police Department would like to acknowledge that in this situation, it would have been very easy for our department to say Nyx died of natural causes.
We could have swept this under the rug and left it that way.
We feel that we acted appropriately by contacting DCI and requesting that they conduct an investigation.
The Mills Police Department would like to say that we followed the current department K-9 police in regard to a death of a K-9.
Standard practice considers a K-9 vehicle a rolling kennel.
The Department does not, however, condone the K-9 being left unattended in a vehicle for approximately six hours.
Officer Miller is also facing criminal actions because of his decisions regarding this incident.
The Mills Police Department has currently suspended its K-9 program, and is reviewing the policies regarding the K-9 program and allowing K-9 officers to be training officers.
The Mills Police Department is also considering preventive equipment such as heat alarms in the vehicles.
In this age of digital instant communication and social media, we would ask that the vicious personal attacks being seen on social media be stopped.
Every person makes mistakes at some point in his or her life.
The Mills Police Department continues to stand by its officers.
We would also like to thank Officer Miller for several years of dedicated professionalism and service to our department and the Town of Mills.
Aside from being named Police Officer of the year for 2013, Officer Miller has served this department and the Town of Mills flawlessly and with distinction for approximately four and a half years.
K-9 Nyx was a loved member of the Mills Police Department, as well as a respected drug detection K-9 in our area.
She has served with our department since 2006.
As many people can attest, Nyx was considered as a family member to everyone with in this department.
She was also treated with great love and respect by Officer Miller, not just on the job, but off.
This loss runs deeply within our department.
A memorial service is being planned, but the department wanted to wait until after all the investigation and proceedings are completed.
Further information will be passed along when it becomes available.
Any questions in regard to the charges filed, or not filed against Officer Miller, should be directed to the Natrona County District Attorney's office.
The Mills Police Department has heard that a demonstration is scheduled in front of the police department.
We welcome the public's right to peacefully protest, and will attempt to make accommodations for use of our bathroom facilities during that time.
Sever questions have been asked as to why it took so long for this story to come to light.
That is a question we cannot answer.
The Mills Police Department conducted their internal investigations, and requested the criminal investigation in a timely manner.
It is not the policy of the Mills Police Department to notify the news outlets every time that an investigation is conducted.
We can say that several news organizations have had this story for several weeks.
As with any investigation, it takes time to fact check and get information from various sources.
Chief Bryon Preciado
Editor's Note: K2 Radio did not know of the situation beforehand and we are NOT calling the Police Chief a liar.