Centerville Police K9 hit and killedSep 15, 2023 09:51AM ● By Becky Ginos
CENTERVILLE—The Centerville Police Department is mourning one of their own, K-9 Sophie, a bloodhound that had been with the department since 2019. The dog got loose from her handler’s yard Sunday night and was killed on I-15.
After an all night search Sunday, the police received a report Monday morning that a bloodhound had been spotted on I-15 running southbound in the northbound lanes just north of Parrish Lane. Shortly after, officers were notified the dog had been hit. Sophie was found deceased in the I-15 northbound HOV lane just north of Parrish Lane.
“We consider her a police officer,” said Centerville Police Chief Paul Child. “Her handler is heartbroken. Sophie lived at his home and his kids would play with her every day. She was like family.”
Sophie was a resource to the community, he said. “She was used by us but also outside in the county to find missing kids and for search and rescue. We’d use her to find people with Alzheimer's or autism. She was able to locate one child with autism during a rain storm who was in a life-threatening situation.”
She also tracked numerous criminals on the run, Child said. “She was able to locate individuals who were wanted and at the same time protect the officers.”
In 2019, Child attended a National Center for Missing & Exploited Children conference. “It was about kids who have been abducted and come up missing and found killed,” he said. “I was sitting next to a man from a small department in Phillipston, Massachusetts named Bill Chapman. He said if they had called in a hound in those situations they probably could have found the kids before they were killed.”
Child flew out to Massachusetts and met up with Bill. “I watched the bloodhounds in action and how they would trail scents,” he said. “It’s an asset largely neglected in Utah. I thought they could be of real value in the community.”
Bill called one day and told Child he had a bloodhound. “He said she was free if we’d come and get her. It usually costs thousands of dollars to get a trained dog.”
Centerville Police Department Lt. Zan Robison, now retired, went to pick up Sophie, said Child. “He’d had a lot of experience training K-9s. She came to us in November 2019 and Officer Jason Shields was assigned. Sophie had all of the training and was certified back there through the Northeast Houndsmen.”
Sophie is going to be hard to replace, he said. “K-9s are expensive. I hope we can keep the program going.”
Child said all of the officers loved her. “She was happy, lovable and full of energy. She’s a resource we’re going to miss having.”