Review Board Clears Officer in Dog Shooting

Aug 1, 2014

  A civilian review board has exonerated a Salt Lake City police officer after he shot a dog last month.

The report from the Salt Lake City Police Civilian Review Board looked at whether Detective Brett Olsen used excessive force when he shot and killed a dog named Geist.  Olsen was searching for a missing child when he entered the back yard of Sean Kendall’s home in Sugar House.

Police Chief Chris Burbank says the circumstances made it necessary for Olsen to go in the back yard without permission.  Though the child was found safe a short time later, Burbank says officers have to be judged on what they know when they have to make that split-second decision.

Burbank told reporters on Friday, “We cannot hold them to standard of what may have occurred after the fact or what they have no access to information-wise.”

Kendell argues the officer should not have been in his back yard without permission and that shooting his dog was completely unjustified.  He’s also turned down a reported 10-thousand dollar settlement with the city.

“The settlement was for an amount of money my lawyer felt was reasonable," Kendall told KUER, "but it did not include anything in regard to policy change or training that the officers require.”

Burbank says the police department is evaluating its procedures and training after the incident.

The shooting has drawn worldwide attention.  A Facebook page called Justice for Geist has received more than 72-thousand “likes.”