Author Topic: [Old News] Chatham Co., Ga. K-9 unit used for scientology conference  (Read 2468 times)

Offline ethercat

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Seems the scientologists were worried about bombs:

Kennel master for Chatham K-9 unit fired
Sheriff said Lt. Tony Derryberry used a dog to work a private job.

The Savannah Morning News

By Erik Tryggestad
Savannah Morning News

The kennel master for Chatham County's K-9 unit was fired after he took a
bomb-sniffing dog to Florida to work a private job for his own personal gain,
according to the county sheriff.

Lt. Tony Derryberry also built pipe bombs -- in violation of federal law -- to
help train Chatham's K-9 units, said Sheriff Al St Lawrence.

Derryberry, who was fired May 11, was part of the county's K-9 unit, which uses
dogs to sniff out drugs and bombs.

Since 1997, the unit has been partially financed by a government grant, but it
operates under the direction of the Chatham County Sheriff's Department and
assists federal, state and local agencies in conducting drug searches in
Southeast Georgia.

Derryberry took a dog trained to find explosives from its handler on May 6 and
went with it to Clearwater, Fla., to work a private job -- inspecting a site for
a conference of the Church of Scientology, St Lawrence said Tuesday.

He spent two days in Florida with the specially trained dog -- an investment for
the county of about $8,500 -- without department approval, the sheriff said.

"He left the handler with nothing to do but get paid for two days without
working," according to a letter sent by St Lawrence to the committee that
administers the program's grant money.

On one of those days, there was a bomb threat at Groves High School and only one
drug dog was available, St Lawrence said. Having a second dog available would
have allowed them to carry out a quicker and less disruptive search of the

Derryberry joined the Chatham County Sheriff's Department in August 1986, said
enforcement administrator Maj. John Murray.

The K-9 unit, the first of its kind in the state, began in April 1990, Murray
said. Derryberry was among its first dog handlers and trainers. He was given the
title of kennel master, which put him in charge of training and other
administrative operations.

"He helped get the program off the ground, no question," St Lawrence said.

The unit, located near the county jail off Chatham Parkway, runs training
programs for dogs and handlers from across the state.

It was one of these training programs that also got Derryberry into trouble,
according to St Lawrence's letter. The sheriff said Derryberry did not maintain
the explosives bunker as he should have.

The bunker, which houses training devices for the dogs and their handlers,
contained old, unexploded bombs that were leaking chemicals, according to the

There were also pipe bombs in the bunker that were built in violation of federal
law, the letter stated.

St Lawrence said he called bomb experts with the Chatham County Police's bomb
unit to investigate the bunker after he fired Derryberry.

"On examining the bunker, we found three PVC pipe bombs containing black and
smokeless powder, two galvanized steel pipe bombs containing black powder ...
and six sticks of deteriorated glycerin-based dynamite. All items were taken to
a (disposal) site and destroyed," according to the county's incident report,
filed with the FBI May 13.

When reached at his home in Springfield, Derryberry said he could not comment on
the terms of his firing.

"I think I need to talk to some people first. It's in my own best interest,"
Derryberry said.

Taking Derryberry's place on the K-9 unit is Chatham County Lt. Terry Enoch.

Crime and public safety reporter Erik Tryggestad can be reached at 652-0318.

Sorry, no link to the original, but this link which is working, , gives the outcome of the story.

Web posted  Saturday, August 21, 1999

Stay! Dog unit remains in Chatham County

A three-person control board has been set up to oversee the federally funded program.

By Paula Reed Ward
Savannah Morning News

Chatham County's K-9 unit is staying put as the state's training center for drug- and bomb-sniffing dogs.

The future of the program was in question earlier this summer when the state organization that funds it found the only certified project director for the unit had been fired.

Since then, the Chatham County Sheriff's Department has had two of its K-9 handlers certified and has now received the full support of the Crime Control and System Improvement Advisory Committee.

"The program was not going to go down because of one person," said Sgt. Ralph Salas, assistant K-9 unit commander.

"It gives a big boost to the sheriff's department," added Deputy Tommy Tillman, a spokesman for the department. "It's a good program."

Part of the state Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC), the advisory committee met Tuesday on Jekyll Island and agreed to award a $500,000 grant to the sheriff's department to continue its training of officers from across the state in dog handling.

In addition, the committee agreed to set up a control board to oversee the program, said Martha Gilland, the director of the CJCC.

The three-person control board will include Col. Robert Hightower, of the state Department of Public Safety, Chatham County Sheriff Al St. Lawrence and an appointed district attorney.

Like the other 28 multi-jurisdictional drug task forces funded through the CJCC, the members of the control board will provide input and have an open relationship with the commander of the K-9 unit to help improve it, Gilland said.

"It's a statewide agency, it's supposed to help people all over the state," Gilland said. "It's not just for Chatham County -- never was -- at least since we put in."

The CCJC became involved with the K-9 unit in 1997, and since July of that year has designated money from the federal Edward Byrne Memorial Drug Control and System Improvement Formula Grant.

The Chatham County unit, which has six narcotics and two explosives-detecting dogs, provides basic K-9 training to other law enforcement agencies across Georgia.

Questions about the program's future arose in May when the sheriff's department fired its kennel master for using one of the county's two bomb-sniffing dogs for a private job. Lt. Tony Derryberry, one of the first handlers to work with the K-9 unit when it started in April 1990, took the dog on an explosives search at a site for a conference of the Church of Scientology in Clearwater, Fla.

At the time, Gilland expressed her concern for the future of the government involvement with the Chatham County program.

"You can't put federal money into a program if there's no certified instructor," she said.

But since May, two handlers have received training in Texas and have become certified instructors, Gilland said.

"I'm tickled to death," Gilland said. "I'm very pleased with the program, and I hope it continues on."

Crime and public safety reporter Paula Reed Ward can be reached at 652-0360.
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Offline Lorelei

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Notably, there has been little discussion of this story, or the possible ties with Scientology, in the crappy print version of the paper. At least not that I have seen.
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Offline ethercat

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Well, it has been 10 years.    :)  I said it was old. 
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Offline Alp

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It was probably overshadowed by the trial over the death of a certain "Lisa." Also, there were fewer activists to raise awareness over these kinds of news stories.
Religion is free. Scientology is neither.