K9 Deputies were utilized in two separate incidents Tuesday evening, successfully tracking and locating suspects during potentially dangerous situations for deputies.
At approximately 6:00pm Tuesday evening, a suspected prowler was called in by an alert resident on Laramore Street in Port Charlotte. The prowler was identified by the caller as Tony Noble (11/17/86), a wanted person out of Sarasota County on charges of Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer and Resisting Arrest. A member of the Canine Unit observed Noble running from the scene of the call, at which time the Canine Deputy called for Noble to stop running. The Canine Deputy stated that Noble yelled back at him, “you are going to have to work for it and run.” Noble then ran behind a residence.
The Canine Deputy deployed his K9 partner, at which time the K9 and his handler gave chase on Noble. Noble was located attempting to hide at the rear of a residence, and was given orders to surrender. Noble eventually complied with the orders under the supervision of the barking K9. Noble was arrested and charged locally with Resisting without Violence. He will then separately answer for his warrants out of Sarasota County.
Several hours later, at approximately 1:00am Wednesday morning, a Deputy made a traffic stop on a vehicle in the parking lot of Bayfront Punta Gorda. As the vehicle came to a stop in the ambulance driveway, the driver, later identified as Joseph Lawrence (12/22/94) exited the vehicle and yelled at the Deputy that his girlfriend was having a baby. He then fled towards the front of the hospital. The Deputy made contact with two other occupants of the vehicle, a juvenile male and Jolie King (3/2/99). The juvenile, sitting in the front passenger seat, was observed to have pieces of marijuana on his shirt, and visible pieces of marijuana were on the passenger seat, floorboards, rear seats, and center console. LSD tablets were also located on the front passenger floorboard after the occupants were removed from the vehicle.
A member of the Canine Unit responded to assist in locating Lawrence. The Deputy began a track from the traffic stop location with his K9 partner, heading North towards the water. The K9 successfully tracked to Lawrence’s location, at which time the Deputy gave him verbal commands to stop and surrender. Lawrence again fled from sight of the Deputy and began to enter the water (Charlotte Harbor), until he was successfully apprehended by the K9.
It was discovered that Joseph Lawrence only possessed a Florida Identification Card, and was also on Felony Probation. Lawrence was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance (LSD), resisting arrest without violence, violation of probation, and operating a motor vehicle with no driver’s license. The two passengers in the vehicle were also charged with possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office currently has 7 canines that are dual-purpose trained for patrol work and drug detection and 3 single-purpose canines used solely for drug detection. In addition to assisting deputies in potentially dangerous situations, the canines are frequently guests at events and schools for demonstrations and community outreach about drug and crime prevention.