Grover Beach police officer indicted on felony charges

February 2, 2017

The fence the dogs ate through.

CORRECTION:Alex Geiger is facing a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in jail.

By KAREN VELIE

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office Charged the Grover Beach police officer whose two dogs attacked and killed a 64-year-old man in Grover Beach with two felony counts of owning a dog trained to attack while failing to exercise ordinary care. Alex Geiger is facing up to three years eights months in jail.

Geiger, 25, recently resigned from the Grover Beach Police Department.

Shortly after noon on Dec. 12, both of Geiger’s dogs chewed through a fence and attacked Betty Long, 85, in her front yard. Long’s neighbor, David Fear, went to assist the woman and the officer’s Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd turned their aggression on Fear. Fear died shortly after the brutal attack.

A 5 foot fence at one side of Geiger’s backyard.

While Long says both dogs attacked her and Fear, the Belgian Malinois, a trained police attack dog, was the most aggressive.

Because of a conflict of interest, Grover Beach police left the investigation up to Eric Anderson, a veterinarian who manages San Luis Obispo County Animal Services.

Anderson, however, failed to set up a crime scene and left bloody clothing on Long’s driveway, neighbors said. California’s dog bite quarantine law requires that a dog that has attacked and bitten someone be “quarantined at a local animal shelter for approximately 10 days to determine whether it is vicious, rabid or diseased.” This law is designed to protect the safety of the bite victim, the owner of the dog and the general public.

Nevertheless, Anderson euthanized the Belgian Malinois and permitted Geiger to keep his German Shepherd.

“I’m really surprised the Belgian Malinois is not under quarantine and not sequestered somewhere,” said Jacqueline Frederick, Long’s attorney. “There should have been an opportunity to evaluate the dog. And I am surprised the second dog was released. I do not know what evidence they have that both dogs were not involved. My client was the only witness and she says otherwise.”

Anderson did not return a request for comment.

After serving as an Explorer Scout, Geiger began working for the King’s County Sheriff’s Department in July 2012. However, he did not make it through his one year probation period.

In Aug. 2014, the Exeter Police Department hired Geiger to serve as an officer. After just one year on the force, the department assigned Geiger a K-9 trained to attack.

Nevertheless, most law enforcement agencies require officers to work for at least seven years as an officer before joining the K-9 unit. These requirements are set in place to provide time for the officer to gain experience before becoming responsible for a K-9.

Sources from within the Exeter Police Department told CalCoastNews that Neo had some training and behavioral issues while in the Valley.

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.

Geiger left Exeter to join the Grover Beach police force in September. That month, Geiger purchased the Belgian Malinois named Neo from the city of Exeter for $5,287.50. Geiger brought Neo and the German Shepherd to Grover Beach as his personal pets.

Shortly after moving into Grover Beach with his dogs, Geiger’s neighbors began having issues with the dogs. Primarily that they were unattended for long periods of time, would try to break through the fence while angrily barking and they would at times bark most of the night.

“They were like rabid dogs,” said Duane Williams, a retired firefighter who lived next door to Geiger. “If we were just walking around in our home, they would go nuts.”

Williams said he never saw Geiger interact with his dog or allow them in his home. At times, Geiger kept the dogs kenneled, though at other times they were only separated from the neighbors by a five-food chain link fence and a wood fence.

“It upset me greatly that he never had contact with the dogs,” Williams said.

Both William and another retired firefighter who lives a house down from Geiger, Rob Doty, said that while neighbors would socialize outside, the dogs would bark and slam their bodies against the fence in an attempt to get out.

Geiger kennel

Geiger’s dog kennel

Shortly before Thanksgiving, William and Doty decided to confront Geiger about his dogs. The plan was that if one of then noticed Geiger arrive at his home, the other would call and they would meet in Geiger’s front yard.

However, they were never able to catch him before he quickly left after spending just minutes at his home.

“Those dogs were frustrated because they never got any attention from him ever,” Doty said. “We were all victims in the neighborhood. When they finally broke out of the yard, it could have been anybody they killed.”

“Why is this police officer, who is so irresponsible, not in jail?” Doty asked. “Betty Long says that both dogs attacked, but the authorities only observed one dog being aggressive and only took one dog. How come a veterinarian investigated?”

The district attorney’s office has issued an arrest warrant for Geiger.


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805code4

I dont like the idea of Law Enforcement “attack” dogs. For one thing it puts an animal on the front line to suffice where bravery duty and valor lacks, and for another it puts the suspects and bystanders at an elevated and unnecessary risk of serious injury or death, in a situation where the officer/deputy is typically at a safe distance. I think it’s chicken shit and negligent and this tragedy should be a wake up call.


Stunned

Sounds like you better straighten up your act or you’re gonna get bit again and again 805! It’s stupid of you to worry that a dog might put a suspect at an elevated risk. All he/she needs to do is comply and all they risk goes quietly by the wayside.


There’s hardly a braver individual out there than the one running into a situation where the outcome might result in death or serious harm.


This tragedy has nothing to do with the military and law enforcement’s use of trained dogs.


L.A.RamsFan

You’re so lost it isn’t funny…


I’ve been “beat and bitten”, the outcome of my running from police. No, the dog was not let loose on me until I was apprehended, face down on the ground and cuffed. I was first beaten and then bit, the unwritten rule of that LEA that any one who ran from them lived under (probably still do knowing that agency and it’s very current history and it’s past history).


Often, more often then admitted to or reported, K9’s are used as a punitive measure not in the control or protection of shit! That’s the fact.


In the early 80’s I was in the old Riverside County Jail awaiting transport to CDC. There was a bunch of Mexican on Black crap goin’ on and they had us on lock down feeding us one meal a day (one bologna sandwich). The first morning that the lock down was lifted we were released for breakfast and as soon as they had the whole tank into the chow hall the shit hit the fan. The first thing they did was release this very same breed of K9 into the chow hall and the funniest shit I’ve ever seen happened; the K9 made it to the first table before jumping up onto and working his or her way down the trays of food and gulping down every sausage patty in his path! Then, then the “handler” came in to “handle” the K9 and was promptly bit right on his nose by his charge. It stopped the fighting, seriously! And everyone, including a few SD’s started laughing!


Have a nice day, Stunned…


Stunned

Dear career criminal LARamsFan:


Your made up story is quite amusing from the “beat and bitten” to the old Riverside days.


You’d hear lots of if dogs were allowed to severely bit cuffed prisoners. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen but I’m saying it’s not protocol as you’d have us believe.


L.A.RamsFan

You don’t know sh**! No, you really don’t…


Protocol, as your use it, has nothing to do with an unwritten law. And just because it doesn’t exist in your world doesn’t mean it can’t in mine or others.


And I really respect a guy who call another a liar from his keyboard commando

mom’s basement snipers nest.


And the next time you address me as “carreer criminal” be sure to use MR. in front of it.


People in your world don’t get out often and very rarely do they leave the safe confines of SLO when they do.Get outside the county limits there sport! You’ll find the world is mostly dark, ugly and full of bad people, some of those hiding behind badges that exact their own kind of justice when they can get away with it. They depend on fools like you to not only turn a blinds eye to anything they can do but will not raise their voice when they actually witness something wrong. That’s due mostly to fear;scared shitless of the cops and then the public when you’re labeled a “sympathizer”


The only difference between you and I Stunned? I got caught and mommy cam and bailed you out….


Mariposa

Folks, next time you are confronted with or become markedly aware of a neighborhood dog(s) giving the appearance of being vicious and a threat to your safety – DON’T WAIT in hopes of meeting with the owner of the dog(s). Call County Animal Services and file a report – each concerned citizen filing a separate complaint! The more people who call about the same dog(s), the faster you’ll get action from Animal Services. Your call will set in motion the prescribed protocol to “unleash” Animal Services’ officers to investigate the alleged vicious dog(s). Your phone call may help save a life or help prevent injury. I have personally used this method, met some exceptional Animal Services officers, and seen good results.


onefor1

What’s the history of the second dog involved in the attack? Is it a K9 too? Military dog? It should be euthanized. How can Anderson deem it non aggressive when a man died?


Stunned

have you read a single article other than the headlines and the first few words of the story?


ratherbefishing

Geiger is 25, a poster child for the “special generation”; ribbons and medals for participating. A brief time in a PD canine unit and tries to parlay that into an elevated position in a new PD. Punk kids and short cuts


RonHolt

Really? You use one bad example to blame an entire generation? This is not an excuse for Geiger or his actions/inactions. I am just annoyed that people use such incidences as a reason to let fly with negative stereotypes about entire groups of people — most of whom are nothing like the bad individual targeted.


L.A.RamsFan

For once I would like to agree with you but I can’t…


I don’t think ‘fishing was trying to brand the “special generation” as a whole but rather the attitude that surrounds them when something like this happens; those that should hold them accountable to the same degree as those outside of the “SG” don’t! That’s the real problem! Anyone will try and use whatever is at their disposal to mitigate a crime, that’s the nature of things, but when those that are suppose to hold them accountable to the highest degree don’t then assumptions like this will arise.


This idiot should be charged with voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and then let the justice system take it’s course.


I’m not a resident of SLO anymore but I do think this ranks as one incident that should take on some serious community oversight starting with a ton of phone calls to ask why!!! And if that doesn’t work maybe a group of SLO residents should show up at the DA’s office for an explanation…


This is pure BULLSHIT!


ratherbefishing

It might give you some insight into my thinking Mr. Holt

http://blog.dogsbite.org/2016/12/2016-dog-bite-fatality-man-killed-by-police-officers-dog.html?m=0


Geiger’s sole job experience in LE was 2 years at Exeter, one year in the K-9 unit. One month after hire at Grover (Nov 16) he lobbies for a K-9 unit; and he just happens to have a “Police dog”. It should be noted that there are “anomalies” about the outfit that trained Neo as well


RonHolt

I am not disagreeing about your opinions regarding Geiger. It is your broadening statement in the first sentence that calls him “a poster child for the “special generation”; ribbons and medals for participating” to which I object. I don’t know if even Geiger fits that description because his gross negligence and recklessness could well be due to other personal failings.


I do know that there are a lot of young people out there who are no worse than members of my “Boomer” generation and the following one(s?) as well. The fact that there are some well publicized cases that do fit your description doesn’t mean that most others do nor is it productive to make such generalizations. Statements of this type are what has led to so much polarization in politics and other aspects of society in recent years. Making the effort to avoid broad generalizations opens up the avenues of communication which, at least, minimizes unnecessary confrontations.


ratherbefishing

Point considered ;)


discloser

Thank you Ron Holt.


JimF

Older folks looking down on the younger generation, and vice versa, is a phenomenon that has endured since time immemorial. Cavemen probably referred to their children as being privileged, and lazy, and the children probably felt their parents were obtuse.


San Louie

Sounds like BOTH dogs needed copper-lead injections to their skulls long before they killed one person and grievously injured another.


shudacuda

The Grover Beach PD couldn’t investigate due to a potential conflict of interest, so rather than call in an outside investigator from another agency, they have a vet conduct the investigation? RU kidding?? What’s being done about the other dog, has the victim and only surviving witness no credibility? Grover Beach PD is trying to avoid any accountability, but by allowing the investigation to be handed to a totally unqualified person and botched, they are liable IMHO.

The charge against Geiger is another joke, it should be at the very least 2nd degree manslaughter and aggravated assault. Another example of ‘Professional Courtesy’ in the land of the good ol boys. Another slam dunk for Funke Bleu……….


discloser

The Grover Beach Police Dept. followed protocol for dog attacks. They did not hand the investigation over to an unqualified person. They handed it over to Animal Services, who in turn handed it over to the District Attorney. These were appropriate actions taken by the appropriate agencies.


shudacuda

That’s called passing the buck, and the manner in which it was handled was incompetent. If that is the protocol then maybe it’s time for review. The system failed in this case, the other dog that participated in the attack was allowed to remain with the owner who was deemed negligent. That decision puts the public at risk.


SLOBIRD

Does anyone really think that Animal Services and its staff are truly qualified to investigate a death and a vicious attack of two people by these dogs. Gathering evidence, statements, evaluation of a crime scene, etc. I understand that Grover Beach should have recused themselves but in light of the tragic situation a law enforcement agency should have been called in without question immediately. A law enforcement agency would have known immediately upon coming to the scene the gravity of the situation and would have completed a full and thorough investigation.


Very sad tragedy for the families involved.


L.A.RamsFan

Animal Control Officers are sworn LEO’s, if they can’t handle this type of investigation they sure as hell should be able to! They can carry guns, arrest people or shoot them at their leisure so they sure as hell should be able to handle any investigative duties as well. What should have been done, IMNSHO, was this should have been outsourced to another county’s Sheriff’s Dept., like Santa Barbara and let them handle it. More than likely if this goes to trial it will end up elsewhere because there will be tons of reasons that a change of venue would be granted.


This is BULLSHIT!


L.A.RamsFan

That’s it?! No charges for the death? At least a manslaughter charge? You have got to be kidding me, right?


Boy! That thin blue line now extends to both animal control and the DA’s office (if it hasn’t already extended there in SLO a long time ago)?! How f***in’ convenient…


FreeAGCouncil.com

FINALLY!

And I’m sure he has the funds to pay back the City of Grover Beach for all that salary they subsidized him with while on administrative leave!

NOT!


kayaknut

it’s about time, when is Geiger going to be doing his perp walk? Exactly when did Geiger’s taxpayer funded extended vacation end? Come on we all know Eric Anderson was just trying to protect another “special” person in his handling of this incident. Special rules for protected people. We also know Eric Anderson will have no consequences for his mishandling of this incident.