I’m having an extremely difficult time sleeping ~ all because of something I discovered regarding K9 Bak, the deceased officer from Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Dept. in Duncan OK. On November 4, 2016, I wrote a lengthy post on the horrific way this loyal six year veteran died called The Tragedy of K9 Bak… which went into great detail about the circumstances of his death, or in his case, murder.
But my insomnia isn’t from thinking about how K9 Bak died but rather, the events surrounding the memorial service the community organized as a way of honoring his life, something I closed my original post with. Last night a few details came to light.
Since the Stephen’s County Sheriff’s Department had not made any type of memorial arrangements yet, a member of the community took the initiative and began making plans for a community memorial. It was to be held on the East Side of the Stephen’s County Courthouse (the Sheriff’s Department is located within the same building). The reason for this is there is a monument on the East Side that is a tribute to fallen officers. It was scheduled for 10 am on September 6.
Monument on Eastt Side
Monument Seen From Sidewalk
Sheriff Wayne McKinney told the Duncan Banner why his department would not be doing a memorial for K9 Bak at this time. Since the Duncan Banner only allows a few views before locking one out until you subscribe, I copied their article to a document with a sharable link.
On August 31, one of the organizers announced that the memorial service had to be relocated from the courthouse to the local park which is one half mile away. The reason? “Changed location to Duncan Park. Sheriff up for reelection so can’t be honoring this officer at the courthouse. Hmmmm”. I checked the election results only to find that Sheriff McKinney did win however the election was June 28. My turn to say “Hmmmm”. For whatever reason the organizers had to move the location.
On September 6 as promised community members had a small but lovely memorial for K9 Bak that brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t see a uniform presence in any of the photos and one of the attendees said “It would have been nice to have some police support”. Perhaps they were in street clothes?
Bless this comminity!
In closing, sadly this is not a video of K9 Bak however I wish he had been remenbered by his “family” like this. Perhaps they will ….someday. After all, he was a loyal BlueDog.
As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am passionate about K9 deaths due to handler negligence, especially hot car deaths. To digress a bit, I fact check everything several times using different sources because I’ve come to find that mainstream media is often rife with errors. For example with a recent K9 death there were four different ages given for the dog and worse, some media referred to the K9 as male while others wrote female. The K9 (who was killed in the line of duty) was a male.
I was doing research and fact checking data on a K9 who was part of a department in one of our southern states. Because of handler neglect the dog was forgotten for over five hours in a locked patrol car that didn’t have heat sensors. This occurred during the middle of the day when the heat is highest plus in the south states it’s always hotter and more humid than their northern counterparts. Sadly the K9 died. During the course of reading I stumbled upon something that almost made me vault from the chair in shock. Another K9 died in a hot car death due to egregious negligence earlier in 2015. This happened in a southern state as well but a different one. When I checked the distance, there is over 300 miles between the two locations; it wasn’t as if the two departments were even remotely close to one another. I don’t know about you but with the exception of relatives and old acquaintances I don’t arbitrarily know people who live 300 miles away. Yet I found a connection between these two handlers and it was a somewhat new connection; they weren’t old social media friends. I even checked as far back as I could on the youngest handler but he had never lived nor worked in the other state. I should mention that I discovered the connection on a social media site and the individuals involved were rather cryptic in their comments which is to be expected. However finding a connection of any type seemed odd and out-of-place. That I began to wonder; do these disgraced law enforcement officers purposely reach out to each other? I know that officers who have lost a K9 in the line of duty or due to sickness or age after retirement are often comforted by other handlers who have lost their K9 partner in a similar way. That seems appropriate and normal. But for two officers whose negligence alone was the cause of death in otherwise healthy K9s to be corresponding (one handler has been charged with a felony and fired by his department) ~ now that seems very strange.
So I’m on a mission. Yes America is a free country and the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech however something isn’t right here. Is there a secret group reserved just for police officers whose carelessness and negligence are the direct cause of their K9 partners life?
If there is a great physical distance between two small town police departments, how did they suddenly begin communicating after the death of their dogs? It almost smacks of collusion and I definitely don’t like it.
When a handler loses their K9 partner they are usually devastated. On June 24, 2016, retired Clearwater, Florida K9 Officer Major was laid to rest due to medical issues. He served the Clearwater Police Department and the city of Clearwater for six years before being retired in 2014. Below is a touching tribute written by his partner, Sgt. Michael Spitaleri:
Saying GoodBye To Major
To my faithful partner,
Today has been the most difficult day of my career. I made the decision to end your pain and suffering, however I’m hurting far more than I anticipated. I already miss you, buddy.
I remember picking you up from the airport right before we began K-9 school together. My first impression wasn’t accurate. I thought you were small and you appeared to be a bit timid at first glance. I honestly didn’t know if you had what it took to be a police dog. Nonetheless, we started K-9 school together in November of 2008. I quickly learned my initial assessment was wrong. You proved yourself to me time and time again. Your willingness to please me, your loyalty, and your fearlessness was very apparent as we progressed and graduated K-9 school in March 2009.
As a team, we had immediate success on the road. During our first week together that March, you successfully tracked and located a man who threatened his wife with a knife. Our skills and ability got better day in and day out from that point. Throughout the years, we located dozens of criminals, illegal narcotics, firearms, and other items of evidentiary value. These arrests and finds wouldn’t have been possible without you. You made me look like a superstar at times; truth be told, I was nothing more than the guy who held your leash.
Your reputation with our coworkers was highly respected. I always laughed when we would train with the SWAT team. During those training sessions we were around some of the toughest men I have ever had the privilege of working alongside. When I would get you out of the car I would watch as these tough men would find the nearest corner of the room in an attempt to be as far away from you as possible, because they thought you were “crazy.” You weren’t crazy; you were my protector. You were their protector. You knew no limits and you would stop at nothing to make sure we made it home safely to our families. You took your job seriously.
I’ll never forget when I would try and key the radio to talk. It never failed; as soon as I got our call sign out “K4” to the dispatcher you would begin barking so loud they couldn’t hear a thing I was trying to say. I would get messages and/or requests from the dispatchers to repeat my transmissions. They knew I couldn’t stand it when you “talked” over me; however it was something you never grew out of. We still laugh about it to this day.
When you retired in 2014 due to medical conditions, the adjustment to being a normal dog was difficult for you. You would watch me get ready and run to the door in anticipation of going to work. I know you didn’t understand the reasons I retired you, however I did it because I loved you, buddy. I wanted to make sure your medical conditions didn’t get worse. I wanted you to live a good quality life during your retirement. You deserved that and I stand by my decision. Just like you looked out for me every single shift, it was my turn to look out for you and protect you.
Although I know you didn’t enjoy retirement like humans do, I’m proud to say you adjusted as much as you could. You became my wife’s dog. You became my children’s dog. You made sure they were protected when Daddy went to work with his new dog, Echo. You would lay by my kids’ door at night while they slept, almost as if to say “I got them, Daddy, you go to work, and they’ll be fine”. I felt at peace knowing you were home keeping them safe. Thank you for protecting them like you protected me for all of those years.
I could go on and on about you. You made me the K-9 handler that I am today. You never met a challenge that you didn’t rise to the occasion. You were a great partner and I am forever thankful for you.
Major, I love you and I will always remember our time together. Please go find the nearest police officer when you get to heaven and tell them you are a police dog and you are reporting for duty.
Madison County is in Northwest Arkansas and encompasses approximately 837 square miles. The last census from 2010 census indicates a population of 15,717. The county seat is Huntsville, nicknamed the “Crossroads of the Ozarks“. Huntsville has a police department and coverage is also provided by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department (MCSO). The MSCO acquired K9 Lina in either 2014 or 2015. As I’ve discovered since I started writing about K9 deaths, media reports often give conflicting information. I’ve also learned that Arkansas does not readily respond to requests submitted under the FOIA. What I do know is that through community donations , the MSCO was able to purchase a female Belgian Malinois from K9 Working Dogs International, LLC.located in Longford, Kansas. The website says that Police Dog Pricing ranges from $4,500.00 to $15,500.00which is most likely based on how advanced the dog’s training is at time of purchase. I don’t know how much training K9 Lina had prior to joining Madison County, only that Deputy Cornelison trained to be her handler at K9 Working Dogs for three weeks. By by the time she hit the road with her handler, Deputy Jonathon Cornelison, K9 Lina was trained to track and detect narcotics. She also lived at his residence with his family and a family dog where she was housed in an outside kennel behind a barn.
What I DO know is that after being a K9 Officer for Madison County for one year, K9 Lina died in Deputy Cornelison’s patrol vehicle, a Ford Crown Victoria, on September 9, 2016.
Again, more mainstream media discrepancies as some report K9 Lina remained inside the vehicle when Cornelison arrived home from work at 6 am until the discovery of her body at 2:45 – 3 pm. Others reported that Cornelison took Lina out of the vehicle and kennelled her until he was called out to assist with an accident at which point he removed her from her kennel and to the wreck with him. So K9 Lina was either trapped inside a hot car for approximately (8) hours or (6).
This is a stock photo of a Ford Crown Victoria ~ not one from MCSO or any agency involved in this case.
He parked the patrol car in his driveway at approximately 9 am after which he performed a variety of tasks such as driving in his truck to help a friend fix a lawnmower, pay his water bill, talk on the phone with a family member and other errands. It wasn’t until approximately 2:45 – 3 pm after greeting his other dog that he realized K9 Lina was quiet in the kennel. That’s when Deputy Cornelison discovered K9 Lina dead inside the patrol vehicle, one that was NOT equipped with a heat sensor. The outside temperature that day was 91 degrees which means that the interior temperature would have reached 109 degrees within 10 minutes.
According to Sheriff Phillip Morgan, Deputy Cornelian was in a “state of shock” upon finding K9 Lina’s lifeless body. Sheriff Morgan also told the media that his deputies had been working 50 hour weeks due to understaffing and both overworked and sleep deprived. Deputy Cornelian was placed on paid leave while neighboring Washington County conducted an investigation.
I’ve read Deputy Jonathan Cornelison’s timeline and as a nurse who has worked more than her share of long 12 -18 shifts with little sleep in between and a single parent of (3) children, I can understand part of it. Here however is where any similarities end:
“Woke up at 6 a.m. Friday to take his kids to daycare, then responded to a wreck, with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.
At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawn mower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel. Found her deceased in the back of his car.” Source: KHBS *Note It was 90 F the day of K9 Lina’s death
I don’t know where Deputy Cornelian originally hails from but I do know that he has lived in Arkansas for at least (9) years as he’s been employed by the Madison County Sheriff’s Dept. since 2007. That alone tells me he is more than familiar with the hot temperatures in a community whose motto is “Crossroads of the Ozarks”. The median temperature for early September in Huntsville is 80 – 88 F. Anyone should know that is too hot to allow a living animal or human to stay inside a car for more than a very brief time. But a LEO, who is trained to identify dangerous situations (hot cars being one of them) and to still leave his partner inside one is abhorrent. When he returned from the wreck, “with Lina in the back seat. Drove straight home, and went back inside at about 9 a.m.” He should have removed her from the vehicle the same time he removed himself. I do not buy into the overworked, tired, lack of sleep, skeleton crew excuses being offered by both the deputy and Sheriff Morgan; they are merely words being used to justify egregious behavior by a negligent handler. Deputy Cornelian knew it was hot out, as a LEO he inherently knew that hot cars are death traps, yet he still kept K9 Lina inside a virtual oven while “At 9:50 a.m., he got a call to help his friend with a broken lawn mower. Ran errands until 1:40 p.m. and then met a Huntsville officer to review a DWI case. Returned home at about 2:45 p.m. and realized Lina was not in her kennel.” Source: KHBS
None of his actions during the time frame of nearly (6) hours were the those of a man so irrational from overwork and lack of sleep that his behavior can be considered innocent and K9 Lina’s death merely an “accident” when in reality, it was a death sentence for her. This is blatant animal abuse ~ by cop. Which begs the question; how can we as a society trust an officer who is sworn to protect and serve us when he FAILS to protect the life of his own K9 partner?
On September 23, Matt Durrett, 4th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney of Washington County, announced that there was insufficient evidence to support an animal cruelty charge therefore Deputy Cornelian would not be charged. I do not concur with Prosecutor Durrett’s decision because criminal charges must be brought against the handler in this case. Otherwise, the negligent homicide of police dogs by human police officers will continue. My only solace is the knowledge and inherent belief that 90% of our law enforcement canine handlers are above reproach. Many would take a bullet for their partner. Once Prosecutor Durrett’s announced that no charges would be forthoming, Sheriff Morgan brought final disciplinary action against the deputy on September 26:
Deputy Cornelison will:
1. Be suspended without pay for 60 days.
2. Be removed from the K9 program.
3. Be decertified as a K9 Handler.
4. A letter of reprimand will be placed in his file.
A K9 Officer is a universal dog that can track, guard, catch and protect. A K9 Officer serves his duty just like any human officer. His handler knows him as a”Partner,” not just an animal.
It is disheartening to know that the state of Arkansas takes hot car deaths so lightly for it was just in August 2016 that a Hot Springs judge was found innocent in the July 2015 death of his 17 month old son whom he forgot in a hot car for (5) hours .
The courtroom broke out in loud cheers as the verdict was read aloud by Special Judge John Langston. Naramore’s wife, Ashley, ran over to embrace her husband shortly after.
A sad indictment against the values and moral compass of one of America’s southern states.
I’ll leave you with this thought; think about being trapped in a hot car and fighting for every breath you could take until you just couldn’t breathe anymore and took your last one. Very heart wrenching and inexcusable!
A few months ago I posted about the problem honest people with severe chronic pain issues have getting pain medication when all other treatment modalities fail ~ simply because those who use/buy/swap/deal drugs illegally have made it nearly impossibleto get any type of pain pills. I have chronic migraines. I’ve had them since I was struck in the head with a baseball bat as a child. Having said that, when you have that type of pain from such an early age you develop a fairly high tolerance but only to a point. For the past several years, I’ve been getting Botox for Migraine. It’s a series of needle pricks throughout your scalp, forehead and back of neck. For me, it was manna from heaven. The shots are given on a three-month schedule but if the doctor does them a day or two early, insurance rejects the claim. My local neurologist gave notice in mid-August that his practice was closing because he accepted a position in Kentucky. Problem is, he was closing in mid-September, just a few days before my Botox appointment so needless to say I didn’t get the injections. Made an appointment with a new neurologist but the first opening isn’t until December 2 AND he doesn’t start Botox till the second visit which won’t be till end of January. That means that it will be almost seven months without Botox.
On top of that I have these visual issues which I just learned are caused by a large amount of scar tissue that formed on my corneas following cataract surgery in October 2015. I started having trouble seeing and saw the ophthalmologist in January. He said my eyes were still adjusting. Hmmm. I don’t even know why he did surgery in the first place as I wasn’t having a problem. But that onus is on me. I usually research the heck out of everything but I was super relaxed after the 4 year legal battle and blindly followed the doctor’s advice. He never told me that with cataract surgery I would lose my ability to read without glasses or that there were lenses that would eliminate the need for glasses at an extra cost. By February my vision had deteriorated to the point that the cheater glasses were no longer working so I had to buy a different number. I’m on my third pair now, each time getting a different number.
Right after I had cataract surgery I could see distance however that didn’t last long. Hell I can’t even see the floor anymore so have had manyfalls over a dog toy. Despite my pleas the ophthalmologist couldn’t see me until the end of July which is insane! And worst of all, visual disturbances have always been a migraine trigger for me so it’s like a vicious circle. I’ve never gone to a concert specifically because of the lights. I used to have a friend take my kids to see their favorite performer when they were in Philadelphia for a concert.
I use a dictating app or rely on Siri for typing or emails, stopped driving, knitting, reading, hiking and walking outside. I was hiking the AT last spring and summer! Seriously? This is NOT the type of life I envisioned for myself when the legal issue was over and I had my life back. Good news is ~ I can have the scar tissue removed via laser procedure called YAG. Bad news ~ not till December 6. Then when I go back for my first check up we’ll discuss contact lenses for near vision because I have to tell you, going from a lifetime of not wearing glasses for close up then overnight you’re unable to read a piece of paper or apply makeup is horrible. I would assume that as people age their vision progressively gets worse whereas mine was boom! Overnight.
My primary care doctor knows me, knows I’m a nurse, and knows about the abrupt closing of the neurology office. He also knows I tend to go for homeopathic remedies as opposed to Big Pharma but with severe migraines like mine herbs, teas, vitamin combos etc. simply don’t work. Do you think he would give me a small prescription for a pain medicine? No! He doesn’t “prescribe narcotics for headaches”. Here asshole want to have another look at the scar across my forehead from the baseball bat??? He told me to take Tylenol and I’ll get through “just fine” till I start the Botox injections again. I really want to ask “And you know this how?” I get the type of migraine that starts with an aura which usually last for about 30 minutes before the pain starts. They’re one of the worst types of migraines. This is as close as I could find to demonstrate an aura when it appears.
But pop two Tylenol and I’ll be “just fine”. Not when my head feels like this!
Yet nearly every day I hear about another drug bust. Where do these weasels get the drugs from?
At least on a positive note I can look forward to possibly changing my eye color with contacts. Had a lot of fun doing that when I wore them intermittently before I moved here. No more hazel eyes; I was rocking different shades of blue, a brown and a green. In this state however it was illegal to order them through the mail plus necessary to drive quite far to an optical shop so I gave up my eye color phase. Just had a thought! Perhaps mail order contacts are legal now because after all, they passed the law that enables people to shoot fireworks and firecrackers seven days a week and long after dark which I wrote about last summer.
Note to self: check into that
Believe it or not I started this post at 0330 because I was frustrated just lying there not being able to sleep due to my head. Then I picked at it from time to time as the day/evening progressed. Should have probably taken two Tylenol…
Gene Kranz was the NASA Flight Director for the Apollo and Gemini programs. He wore flat-top haircuts and vests made by his wife Marta but hissteely nerves, ingenuity and perseverance are what he will always be remembered for.
On April 11, 1970 at 2:13pm ET, the spaceship Apollo 13 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida ~ destination Moon.
The crew was James A. Lovell, Jr. Commander, John L. Swigert, Jr., Command Module Pilot and Fred W. Haise, Jr. Lunar Module Pilot.
But on April 13, the mission suffered a crippling explosion that would nearly doom the spaceflight and its crew.The near-disaster of Apollo 13 was a stunning reminder of the perils of human spaceflight and how NASA managed to overcome the incident and save the mission’s three-man crew.
It began with these now famous words five scrambled words spoken by Capt.James A. Lovell Jr.:
From that moment on, Mission Control. led by Kranz, worked round the clock over the next four days to bring the crew of the Apollo 13 home. His leadership and faith in his team both united and filled them with a sense of intense drive and great purpose. They all knew that under his watch, failure was not an option. And home they came because Gene Kranz “listened to his gut.”
With the explosion and the “hacks” devised to fix the problem, the duration of the mission was 142 hours 54 minutes and 41 seconds. Apollo 13 returned to Earth on April 17, 1970, landing in the Pacific Ocean. The retrieval ship was the U.S.S. Iwo Jima.
After his retirement, Gene Kranz became a much sought after speaker as well as an accomplished author.
“A woman is like a tea bag ~ you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American politician, diplomat, and activist as well as a leader of both women’s and civil rights. She was the longest-serving First Lady, holding the position from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s , four terms in office. After his death, she served at the United Nations, focusing on human rights and women’s issues. She became chair of the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission and helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—an effort that she considered to be her greatest achievement.
Eleanor Roosevelt was a great humanitarian who dedicated much of her life to fighting for political and social change. President Harry S. Trumancalled her the “First Lady of the World” in tribute to her human rights achievements.
Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, writer and humanitarian.
October 11, 1884 ~ November 7, 1962
I could write pages about Eleanor Roosevelt, but I think this video sums up her life quite nicely.
This is my second challenge and I’m a bit slow on the uptake so continue to bear with me. I was nominated by Samantha Murdoch who has a wonderful blog. Please take a look! Coincidentally, I just realized that my quote choice for Day#1 is “akin” to one of Samantha’s…
The rules are as follows:
Post 1 quote each day for 3 days…
Pick a theme for each day but according to someone more experienced at blogging than me ~ not necessary…
Nominate 3 blogs to pick up the challenge and “pay it forward”…
Let your 3 bloggers know by posting on their blogs….Enjoy!!!
“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
~ John Steinbeck (The Winter of Our Discontent)
John Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors. Winter of Our Discontent was published in 1961 and was his last book. Ironically, of his 27 publications, it is the only one that is set on the East Coast. The story takes place in the fictional New Baytown which was modeled after Sag Harbor, NY, where Steinbeck lived while writing the book. Sag Harbor, once a whaling port, is now part of the trendy and expensive Hamptons ~ home to many celebrities.
In the book, the main character, Ethan Allen Hawley, visits the tide pool during times of change and turmoil in his life. It is his safe place, his port in the storm.