Sunday, February 25, 2024

Mapleton K-9 officer seriously injured during training exercise

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MAPLETON — A K-9 officer was seriously injured Wednesday during a training exercise in Spanish Fork.

According to Chief John Jackson with the Mapleton Police Department, officer Rebekah Hatch was in regular training with fellow K-9 officers from multiple jurisdictions at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds. She wore a bite suit when she fell severely while interacting with a Utah County Sheriff’s Office K-9.

“Part of the training was for her to move,” Jackson told KSL TV. “She’s moving as the dog is coming, and when the dog lunged and jumped and latched onto her, just the momentum of that caused her to fall and hit her head.”

Jackson did not go into detail about Hatch’s injuries but said Hatch was in the hospital and would not be returning to work anytime soon. He said the dog acted as expected during the exercise and would not likely face any further scrutiny following what he described as a “training accident.”

“The thing that’s a struggle is she’s been with us 4 1/2 years, and we’ve watched her grow over the years and we’ve watched her grow over the years to just a phenomenal police officer,” Jackson said. “(It) just hurts to see her get better and then have a setback like this.”

Jackson said Hatch loved field work as she uncovered drugs and stopped drunk drivers. He said the officer’s coworkers and others in the city were hoping for as swift and full a recovery as possible.

“They’re concerned — all the officers are, our fire department, our police department — the whole city is worried about her,” Jackson said. “We’ll get through it, but, yeah, we’re going to miss her for a while.”

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