K-9 Scout sniffs out first suspect

Published 2:22 pm Monday, July 23, 2018

Recent stolen vehicle suspects have been barking up the wrong tree — as evidenced by the Clanton Police Department’s second K-9 catch in two days.

K-9 “Scout,” his owner and partner Lt. Erick Smitherman of CPD and the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and Capt. David Clackley of CPD located Scout’s first live find at the tail end of a foot pursuit on July 21.

The stolen vehicle suspect, later identified as 29-year-old Gregory Kenneth Parnell, had instigated a vehicle pursuit by Chilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies before wrecking on County Road 515 in Verbena.

“He then fled on foot into the woods,” a CPD press release reads. “Deputies lost sight of the suspect and set up a perimeter. Within minutes, Scout was deployed, and after a short track, the suspect was located and taken into custody.”

Parnell is charged with buying/receiving stolen property, attempting to elude law enforcement officers, possessing drug paraphernalia, an insurance offense (misdemeanor), driving while license is suspended or revoked and six traffic violations.

According to CPD, “Scout is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, whose primary training is in ground scent human odor tracking, but he is also proficient at narcotics detection.”

The K-9 tracking program is a cooperative effort by CPD and CCSO to provide services that would otherwise require state agencies’ involvement, according to the release.

“The ability to deploy a K-9 within minutes of the suspect running is a game changer and saves agencies time and manpower that is associated with long-term manhunts,” the release reads.

“Our K-9 team has had a very productive week, from training each day to actually applying that training twice in a week,” a CCSO Facebook post reads. “Great job by everyone. Teamwork makes dream work.”