Georgia K9 officer dies after being left in hot car; sergeant demoted

MONROE COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia sheriff’s office is mourning the death of one of its K9 officers that died in a tragic accident.

The Monroe County sheriff’s office said 4-year-old K9 officer Khan was accidentally left inside of his pen on May 14. Authorities said Khan’s handler, Deputy Willie Barkley, worked an overnight shift the night before and forgot that the K9 was in the car when he arrived home.

“Barkley usually put Khan in a pen in his yard but was tired and had forgotten that he was there,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

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When Barkley returned to his car the next day, he found Khan dead from apparent overheating.

The sheriff’s office said Barkley immediately called his supervisors and an internal investigation was launched.

The investigation concluded that this was an avoidable accident. No charges were filed.

Barkley was disciplined in the form of a demotion from sergeant to deputy, removed from field operations and suspended without pay for 5 days.

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This was the first form of discipline during his time at the sheriff’s office.

Khan was a 4-year-old Belgian Malinois and had been with the sheriff’s office since July 2018. Barkley had been his handler for approximately one year.