Officers relieved of duty amid K-9 breeding investigation

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department remains quiet concerning any possible findings in its investigation into a officers using a department canine to breed puppies.

Two Memphis Police Department K-9 handlers have been relieved of duty as the department investigates the case.

Lt. Robert Covington and Officer Carl Craig are the two K-9 handlers under investigation.

Friday, a spokeswoman for the department confirmed they were both relieved of duty pending the investigation.

Multiple sources confirm the officers were breeding the K-9 officers without permission and housed the puppies at the MPD K-9 facility.

The K-9 unit is made up of highly-trained dogs teamed up with handlers who conduct building searches and suspect searches, as well as narcotic and explosive detection.

K-9 officers cost the department thousands of dollars. They are highly trained canines, and they are considered both city property and department equipment.

The officers under investigation could be punished for breaking department rules.

MPD released Covington and Craig's personnel files to WMC investigators Friday.

Craig's reviews from supervisors showed high marks over the years, though there were several minor incidents in the 90's that resulted in a handful of oral and written reprimands.

In 1993, the department suspended Craig for a day after a man in custody claimed his money was stolen by Craig, though Craig denied taking the money.

Covington, who started with MPD in 1995, also has a personnel file filled with praise mixed with several suspensions including a four-day suspension for unnecessary force and personal conduct in 1998. He was also suspended in 2013 for three days for working a second job while on sick leave with the department.

There is no word yet if any dogs were sold as a result of the possible breeding.

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