Today, the Utah House of Representatives passed S.B. 57 - Police Service Animal Amendments sponsored by Senator Jani Iwamoto. This bill increases the penalties for knowingly and intentionally killing a police service animal from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. The House passed the bill with a 43-24 vote. The Senate passed the bill 20-6.
This bill addresses an inconsistency in Utah Law that makes the penalty for stealing a police service animal greater than that for murdering one. Senator Iwamoto was joined at the hearing by Lieutenant Chad Reyes & Sergeant Luis Lovato, Police K9 Handlers with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake K9 Unit. Lt. Reyes' partner Dingo was killed in the line of duty on July 6, 2017. Sgt. Lovato's partner Aldo was killed in the line of duty on April 27, 2016. Senator Iwamoto is running S.B. 57 in memory of Aldo and Dingo.
S.B. 57 received strong expressions of support from law enforcement officers and organizations. The bill now goes to Governor Gary Herbert for his signature.
K9 Officer Aldo
K9 Officer Aldo was shot and killed during a warrant service at a home in Millcreek, Utah.
Officers were serving a warrant on a man wanted for aggravated assault of a police officer. It was determined the wanted man was hiding inside of the home after several of its occupants exited at the direction of officers. Aldo located the man hiding in a closet and commands were issued for him to surrender.
The subject opened fire with a handgun, striking Aldo. Other officers returned fire and critically wounded the subject.
Aldo had served with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake for five years.
K9 Officer Dingo
K9 Officer Dingo was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension of a wanted fugitive near the intersection of 3300 South and 1100 East.
Members of the United States Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team had located the subject driving in the area at about 1:00 am. The man fled when they attempted to stop him. Spike strips were successfully deployed but the man continued to drive until abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. Dingo was released and caught the subject, but the man produced a gun and fired several shots, fatally wounding Dingo.
Other officers were able to take the man into custody without further incident.
Dingo had served with the Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake for five years.