The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Lakeland Police Department K9 unit officer for DUI on Saturday morning in Fort Walton Beach ahead of this week’s USPCA National Police Dog Trials hosted by the OCSO.
FORT WALTON BEACH — For the second time in three years, a member of the Lakeland Police Department’s elite K9 unit has run into trouble during the United States Police Canine Association National Police Dog Trials.
Lakeland K9 officer Chad Landry was arrested by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for driving under the influence early Saturday morning on Miracle Strip Parkway ahead of this week’s USPCA National Dog Trials hosted by the OCSO.
Landry, who was promoted to the K9 unit in December 2018, was pulled over at 5:22 a.m. in his Lakeland Police K9 Unit vehicle, a 2019 Chevy Tahoe, when OCSO officer James Burnham observed the vehicle conduct a u-turn "in front of oncoming traffic and at a high rate of speed" onto eastbound U.S. Highway 98, according to the arrest report.
After the 2017 USPCA National Dog Trials in Foley, Alabama, nine members of the LPD’s K9 Unit - the entire unit - were suspended after a recording by fellow drivers showed a caravan of K9 units traveling at speeds over 100 miles per hour on the way back from Foley.
Landry’s vehicle was clocked at 43 mph in a 25 mph zone, swerved over the inner lane divider line and toward the right or outside lanes as it was passing other cars. After sitting at a green light for nine seconds and "taking off at a high rate of speed" Burnham observed the vehicle almost strike the raised concrete curb multiple times before pulling Landry over.
Landry did not have his Florida Driver’s License and was identified by his Lakeland Police Department Identification Card. According to the report, Landry’s speech was "mumbled and slurred," he had a strong odor of alcohol and his eyes were "bloodshot, watery and glazed."
Landry failed four field sobriety tests before being booked for DUI. Lakeland Sergeant Aaron Peterman, Landry’s direct supervisor, took custody of the vehicle and told OCSO officers he would inform LPD about the arrest.
"(Landry) has been placed on administrative leave immediately, and an administrative investigation will be completed swiftly," LPD Media Relations Spokesperson Robin Tillett said in a written statement. "Chief (Ruben) Garcia spoke with Sheriff (Larry) Ashley of Okaloosa County and expressed his dire concern with this incident. The Sheriff offered his agency’s full cooperation."
Landry refused to take breathalyzer tests and was given a DUI Refusal Citation. He also filed a public records exemption form to keep his mug shot, video and other details of his arrest from becoming public information, which is an option for law enforcement officers.
Lakeland’s K9 unit won top honors at the 2018 USPCA Region One Field Trials in Escambia County, taking home Top Dog, Overall Winner and the Fred Wheeler Award for Top Combined Obedience and Apprehension, along with first place awards for Agility, Total Search (Evidence and Suspect) and Apprehension.
This year’s National Dog Trials run from Monday through Friday and will host K9 units from all over the country.