Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit, conducts a news conference regarding a pit bull attack on North Cleveland Street on Monday morning that resulted in an officer fatally shooting a dog. In front him was a firearm similar to the Glock Model 22 . 40-caliber weapon that was used in the shooting. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)
ALBANY — An Albany Police Department officer assigned to the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit was attacked by a pit bull Monday, ultimately resulting in the officer shooting and killing the dog, officials say.
Maj. Bill Berry, commander of the drug unit, said the officer — identified as Ben Persley — was part of a team of agents serving a search warrant at 507 N. Cleveland St. just before 10 a.m. on Monday. The dog attacked the officer from behind and latched onto his knee, and the officer had to shoot the dog in order to end the attack, killing it, Berry said.
“Entry was made into the house, and as (officers) were clearing the home, one of the lead agents was attacked,” Berry said. “(He sustained) several puncture wounds.
“The dog was taken to a local veterinarian to ensure it was up-to-date on shots.”
The officer was treated at the emergency department at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for lacerations and bites on his leg before being released Monday afternoon with a mobilizer on his leg, Berry said.
“He was hurting, obviously, but he was talking,” Berry, who was at the scene at the time of the attack, said of Persley’s condition immediately following the incident.
Interviews of those connected to the incident were conducted immediately following the shooting. Berry said the internal affairs division of the APD has been called in to investigate the shooting to be sure Persley acted in accordance to policy, as is routine when an officer is involved in such an incident.
In the meantime, he will be placed on desk duty pending the results of the investigation.
“We hope for a quick turnaround as to an answer,” Berry said.
Persley has been connected to the ADDU for less than a year, with a few years under his belt on the streets before coming into the agency, Berry said. The commander said he thought the officer behaved appropriately under the circumstances.
Based on the search warrant, there were three arrests made in relation to some prescription pain pills not in their original container, as well as bags with marijuana residue on them. Alexander Goines, 32, was has been charged with possession of a dangerous drug and drugs not in their original container. Sandra Goines, 27, was arrested on the same charges, while John Brooking, 27, was arrested on an outstanding warrant for probation violation, Berry said.
Berry also said both Alexander Goines and Sandra Goines were living at the North Cleveland Street residence, but that it was not immediately clear what their relationship was to each other. The individuals were believed to be selling the drugs, the ADDU commander said.