Officer who owned killer dog wanted a Grover Beach K-9 unit

January 17, 2017
Kings County Deputy Sheriff Alex Geiger and "Boss" with a demonstration at Hidden Valley Park in Hanford, California in 2013.

Kings County Deputy Sheriff Alex Geiger and “Boss” with a demonstration at Hidden Valley Park in Hanford, California in 2013.

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.


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standup

The favoritism that these pos government employees get is just beyond me. Arrest this fool now Dow or its time to step away. We deserve better and equal enforcement of the law.


DocT

Equal enforcement would be a good start.


it’s illegal to lie to police, it should be illegal for them to lie to us.

it’s illegal to train a vicious animal for us, it should be illegal for them to do it.

it’s illegal for us to drink and drive, it should be illegal for them.

it’s illegal for us to touch our cell phone while driving….it should be illegal for them.

it’s illegal for us to break the speed limit…it should be illegal for them.


etc.


We have a long, long way to go towards equality under the law. The list above only addresses the petty, obvious stuff. The entire concept of police work needs to be scrapped and overhauled.


kayaknut

Sheriff Parkinson has already shown us if you are one of his deputies(on probation none the less) you can be DUI, at over 100mph, on a busy county road and suffer no consequences. They wonder why we have such low respect for LEO’s?, here is one way to change that, start holding them responsible for the actions and fire them. We are still supposed to show Sheriff Fellows respect?, when he clearly doesn’t respect us??, but he doesn’t care because he feels he can do whatever he wants and nothing will happen to him, and he is right. And now we have another officer with no respect for the community, and so far a DA too.


SamLouis

You’re right. It would have taken courage and leadership for Parkinson to can Fellows. That’s obviously not going to happen. But if he did fire Fellows, it would send a very strong message throughout the department. It might also ultimately save some lives. Don’t hold your breath though…


RonHolt

What happened was horrible. But, at most, Mr. Geiger should be guilty of criminal negligence — maybe not even that. I strongly suspect that this will end up in civil court with Mr. Geiger owing very large sums in damages. (And I hope he has enough homeowner/renter insurance coverage to pay them.)


For this to be criminal, he would have had to both intentionally trained the dog for viciousness (beyond that needed for police work) and been beyond simple carelessness in allowing it to get loose. I haven’t seen solid evidence of either yet.


As far as his job with the GB Police goes, I doubt that a non-criminal penalty would be enough legal basis to fire him. If I were in charge, I would find a way to make him think about quitting and going elsewhere. I would also have huge second thoughts about using dogs in the dept. for any type of attack work.


BeenThereDoneThat

Yes non-criminal but none of us know yet if and what he’d be charged with.


DocT

RonHolt,


Facts:


Geiger trained the dog to knock people down, bite them in vulnerable places and chew their hands and wrists. That’s what police dogs are trained to do and Geiger is an experienced K9 handler. There is no discussion about whether he intentionally trained to dog to be vicious.


The dog got out, trespassed onto the neighbor’s property, where he aggressively attacked two people.


Had YOUR dog gotten out and done this, you’d be charged weeks ago.


Had one of the neighbors wandered onto Geiger’s property and killed his dog, that person would have been charged.


Had Michael Vick’s dog done this, he would have been charged.


Had anyone else OTHER THAN A COP done this, they would be charged.


THIS IS ABOUT THE DOUBLE STANDARD OF JUSTICE THAT ALLOWS POLICE TO COMMIT CRIMES IN THEIR DAILY JOBS, IN THE WAY THEY TRAIN THEIR PETS AND CONDUCT THEIR LIVES; CRIMES THAT WOULD BE PUNISHABLE IF A NON-BADGED CITIZEN COMMITTED THEM.


RonHolt

I don’t disagree that there are many double standards that should not exist between those who are supposed to be enforcing laws and the rest of us. However, I am looking at this from a strictly legal point of view. He did train the dog as you said but, if that is the standard for training a police dog and he didn’t take it beyond that standard, that may make the training irrelevant from the point of view of criminal liability.


This is roughly analogous to having legal ownership of a fully automatic weapon which is then stolen and used in a crime. The fact that it is fully automatic is not in itself a crime if the owner is one of the few to be licensed to own them. The owner of such a weapon might be criminally negligent if he failed to take reasonable precautions against theft. But the main punishment would come in the form of civil liabilities along with probably loss of the right to own such a weapon in the future.


BeenThereDoneThat

As always, give him his day in court but if these charges come to be true, he should get a severe penalty $$, jail time and be dismissed from his job.


CentralcoastRN

What people can do:


Call, e-mail, fax the district attorney.


http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/DA/Contact_Us.htm


surferdude

WTF is with the PAID administrative leave?


When this officer is found guilty ( which he will be), he will not have any $$$ to pay back to the poor little failing City of Grover Beach to recoup their payroll.


HE IS EARNING SICK PAY, PENSION AND VACATION PAY RIGHT NOW!!!


1965buick

That’s nice. Now when do we get to hear what Dow’s plan of action is? It’s been plenty of time.


kayaknut

Don’t hold your breath, DA Dow has been a complete ghost since his election on several issues , especially those involving public sector criminal acts or theft of taxpayer/ratepayer monies. On this one likely the cover up is still in process. It appears Officer Gieger is fairly young so not sure he can pull then old “early retirement” bit that many do just yet, my guess is he is using his extended taxpayer funded vacation to look for his next public trough to feed off from, knowing that anything that happens here will not be held against him in other employment, it’s the public sector way.


surferdude

It would be nice if Dow could make some noise on the South County Sanitation District also.

He’s had the report of the misuse of public funds there for quite some time.


mkaney

I’m sure this was a complete surprise to Chief Peters. He could not imagine when he hired Alex Geiger that he would propose a K9 unit. Oh man I hope people aren’t buying this nonsense. This was the plan from DAY ONE!


DocT

It’s just this simple:


Michael Vick trained his dogs to be vicious. While Vick’s dogs were indeed vicious, they did not kill anyone. Vick went to jail for 23 months for dog fighting, cruelty to animals and making false statements to a police officer.


Alex Geiger also trained his dogs to be vicious. One of his dogs—Neo—was so good at knocking people down, biting them in vulnerable places and chewing their hands off that he became certified as a patrol dog.


Unlike Vick’s dogs, Geiger’s dog got out, trespassed onto Mrs. Long’s property and began to practice his training on Mrs. Long, knocking her to the ground and biting her, exactly as Officer Geiger trained him to do. Mr. Fear heroically stepped in to protect Mrs. Long from Neo’s attack and Neo’s training kicked in again….as he chewed Mr. Fear’s hands and wrists mercilessly….exactly and precisely as Officer Geiger trained him to do. How many times was he told he was a “good dog” and given a treat for doing so in practice sessions? Hundreds of times, no doubt.


So, if Michael Vick went to jail and was fired from the NFL for training vicious dogs, why should officer Geiger be free on paid administrative leave for training a vicious dog? Why is it seemingly OK for a cop to commit the same crimes as a non-cop?


Plus, unlike Vick’s dogs Geiger’s dog killed someone and gravely injured another.


Is Dan Dow going to address this double standard or is he going to let officer Geiger start a K9 unit in Grover Beach? Afterall, Geiger has proven that he can train a dog to terrorize people. Isn’t this pretty much what police work has become?


I say promote him and don’t file charges! The community needs police dogs like Neo….right?


kayaknut

I ask again, as with agencies, when they complete their investigation they announce their recommendation, so Animal Services you have completed your investigation and your recommendation is ???, to file charges or to not file charges??? We know the DA can follow the recommendation or not.


And how is Officer Geiger’s extended taxpayer funded Christmas vacation going? Again, why not make him report to the office and just sit there?


DocT

I do not want a person who teaches dogs to terrorize people “serving” in a local police department. How about he picks up trash on the freeway?


Better yet, how about he’s fired and goes to prison? That’s how the law would apply to the mundane class of people.


Imagine if a neighbor trespassed onto officer Geiger’s property and chewed off his dog’s feet, causing the dog to die?


Such a person, would be charged IMMEDIATELY with several crimes, among them: trespassing, cruelty to animals and assaulting a police officer among others. That would be if a human being bit a dog to death at the dog’s house.


But in our police state, if a police dog kills a person, no charges are filed.


Shame on us. If this is allowed to stand, we all deserve much, much worse. And it will get much worse….as there are hundreds of officer Geiger’s and Neo’s out there excitedly waiting to use what they’ve learned against us.


This sort of thing is going to be the new normal.