Officer who owned killer dog wanted a Grover Beach K-9 unit
January 17, 2017
Soon after arriving on the Central Coast, the Grover Beach police officer who owned the dog that attacked and killed a 64-year-old man was lobbying his boss to launch a K-9 unit. [Tribune]
Alex Geiger was sworn in as a Grover Beach officer on Oct. 8. Just over one month later, Geiger, along with Grover Beach Senior Police Officer Matt Goodman, sent a proposal to Police Chief John Peters requesting he put together a K-9 team.
Then on Dec. 13, Geiger’s Belgian Malinois, Neo, attacked Betty Long, 85, in front of her Grover Beach yard. Long’s neighbor, David Fear, went to assist the woman, and the Belgian Malinois turned his aggression on the Grover Beach man.
Fear lost six pints of blood as a result of the attack. The dog bites severed two arteries in his arm, and Fear developed an infection from the bites. Fear died in the hospital four days after the attack.
Long suffered a broken pelvis and broken shoulder. After leaving the hospital, the elderly woman went to a rehab facility.
Prior to coming to Grover Beach, Geiger worked for the Kings County Sheriff’s Department and the Exeter Police Department. In Exeter, Neo was a trained police dog, and Geiger was his handler.
Geiger joined the Exeter K-9 unit just one year after becoming a member of the city’s police department. Law enforcement agencies tend to require officers to work for seven years or more before joining the K-9 unit. Sources from within the Exeter Police Department also told CalCoastNews that Neo had some training and behavioral issues.
In September, as Geiger was leaving Exeter, he purchased Neo from the Central Valley city for $5,287.50. Geiger brought Neo to Grover Beach as his personal pet.
But, on Nov. 10, Geiger and Goodman requested that Peters create a Grover Beach K-9 unit. The officers’ proposal included a 140-page guide on the formation of a K-9 unit in a small police department.
Geiger and Goodman stated it would cost about $30,000 to create the program and another $1,000 a month for ongoing training. A specialized vehicle would require additional funds. The officers mentioned Peters could pursue grant opportunities.
As justification for forming a K-9 team, Geiger and Goodman wrote that the Pismo Beach Police Department has stated its K-9 unit does more work and finds more drugs when assisting Grover Beach police than when working on Pismo Beach cases. Geiger and Goodman estimated a Grover Beach police dog would be used every day.
Following the December attack, Geiger turned Neo over to San Luis Obispo County Animal Services, which euthanized the dog. Animal Services completed its investigation into the incident in late December and submitted the case to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors have yet to announce whether they will file charges against Geiger. As of last week, Geiger remained on paid administrative leave.