There was much debate and public outcry by the citizens of Karnak regarding the village's consideration of purchasing a drug dog.
According to Dean Hamilton, Karnak resident, who was at the Karnak Village Council's special meeting, about 200 Karnak residents gathered Aug. 30. At the meeting, Hamilton said he presented the signatures he had collected on petitions — over 200 people — had signed the petition against the village purchasing the drug dog.
The special meeting, which was held in the Shawnee Development Council building, was called because the application process takes 10 days and the training sessions for the police dog begins Sept. 12.
Hamilton said after discussion regarding the purchase of the drug dog, a motion was made by Dodds to not purchase the drug dog. The motion was passed with a 5 to 1 vote, with one board member voting against the motion.
A statement from Karnak Mayor Craig Bradley on Aug. 31 said: "The board voted down the measure to purchase the dog due to the costs involved with purchasing but moreover maintaining, housing, training and other upkeep of the dog."
According to Bradley, the input from the public was appreciated, but, "ultimately the investigation of the cost of the dog showed that it is too much for our village," said Bradley.
Following that meeting, an incident occurred which resulted in Dodds being arrested, after a confrontation between Dodds and Karnak police officer David Harris.
Hamilton said he was still in the building after the meeting was over when he heard a popping sound in the hallway. When he looked into the hallway, he observed the popping sound was from the taser the police officer had used on Dodds.
Hamilton observed Dodds on the floor with the officer on top of him. According to Hamilton, he did not hear any loud noises or any arguments prior to the popping sound.
Dodds' wife, Diana, said the officer pulled her aside and allegedly told her, "I can do whatever I want to do in this town," and "and there's no one that can question me."
According to Dodds, during the special meeting, tempers were heated. He explained that it seemed as though nobody wanted to vote on the issue of the dog. So, Dodds made the motion that the village not purchase the drug dog.
Dodds believes it was his action against the drug dog that caused the incident between him and Harris after the meeting was over. Dodds said he was getting ready to leave when Harris allegedly told him that he had wanted the dog and that he could, "do what the hell I want to do."
Dodds said he walked away from Harris, but Harris shouted, "Willie, Willie, you are under arrest."
He said he stopped, turned around and said, "What, David?" And, right after that, Harris used the taser on him and while Dodds said he could not remember a lot about what happened, at one point he felt Harris' knee on his neck there in the hallway.
Mrs. Dodds explained that her husband was brought outside and put into a police car. "He [the officer] brought him out, slammed him up against the car. My husband said the cuff was too tight," she said: "It wasn't justified."
Dodds said Harris put the handcuffs on so tight they cut through his skin and cut off his circulation. He said Harris dragged him to the squad car outside, slammed him into the car and tried to slam the door on his foot.
Dodds was charged with aggravated battery of a police officer and resisting arrest.
Karnak resident Kim Eddington, who wrote a letter to the editor in the Wednesday, Aug. 31 issue of the Metropolis Planet opposing the purchase of the drug dog, said she, along with several citizens, stayed with Dodds' wife at Tri-County Jail until midnight.
Eddington said she was told by Dodds' wife the Pulaski County state's attorney told her that Mayor Bradley could have dropped the charges the night Dodds was arrested, but did not. Dodds stayed over night and bonded out the morning of Aug. 31.
Dodds verified that the Pulaski County state's attorney told him and his wife that the charges could have been dropped, but they were not. He also said that when he was released from the Tri-County Detention Center Aug. 31, he went straight to the hospital to seek medical treatment for the injuries he received the night before.
On Sept. 2, Dodds indicated he was wearing a brace and taking medication to relieve the pain from the incident with Harris, which he said "wasn't called for."
Dodds said he has a restraining order against Harris, which could complicate things for him. There is a meeting he is supposed to attend Wednesday, one in which Harris is usually in attendance. And, he also said he has been a volunteer firefighter. He said often the police officer will be on the scene of a fire. Dodds wonders now if he will have to not suit up and go help with a fire just because Harris may be there.
Dodds said he has lived in Karnak for 18 years and "I've never had problems with anybody."
As of press time, Karnak Mayor Craig Bradley said, "I think the board meeting could have gone better, but it was what I expected. The vote was 5 to 1 against getting the dog. As to what happened later, I have no comment at this time."