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Governor Greitens Announces Endorsement Of 'Champ's Law', Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Governor Greitens Announces Endorsement Of 'Champ's Law', Joplin Police Hope It Passes

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JPD K9 Fighter kicks up the grass playing ball with his handler, Officer Randy Black. JPD K9 Fighter kicks up the grass playing ball with his handler, Officer Randy Black.

Joplin, MO -    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was in Kansas City yesterday.
     During his stop, he was able to visit with a K9 officer named Champ...who was stabbed in the line of duty last month.
     That near-tragedy sparked the creation of Champ's Law.
     Something the governor endorses...as do many departments across the state...including Joplin.
On September 11th, 2007, the unthinkable happened outside the former Buffalo Wild Wings on East 7th in Joplin.
Police K9 Cezar was in pursuit of a robbery suspect, when the suspect fatally shot Cezar.
Duncan: "I was on duty the night that Cezar was shot and killed, and I was one of the responding officers there."
That night, hit the department hard.
Captain Trevor Duncan, Joplin Police Department: "So when something happens and someone purposely hurts the K9 you know it affects the whole department, it definitely affects the handler's family, because typically, that K9 lives with them and they really see that as an extension of their family."
In December of last year, police K9 Champ was stabbed in the line of duty, near Harrisonville, Missouri.
In a statement issued by Governor Greitens on Wednesday, he said quote "In Missouri, stabbing a police K9 carries about the same penalty as not returning a library book.  We need to strengthen Missouri's laws.  These K9s do incredible work on behalf of our people."
Duncan: "With the case he's speaking of, it was really considered a misdemeanor and a lot less minor punishment, so, for him to want to come in and strengthen those laws and let those K9s continue to be an asset to us knowing there's stricter penalties for people that harm them in the way they did in Cass County, it's definitely a benefit for our department."
That way K9s like Fighter with Officer Randy Black, and Belgon with Officer Adam Brannin can have equal rights when they're out fighting crime.
     The bill is currently in the Missouri house.
     If passed...it would take the penalty for injuring or killing a police dog from a Class E to a Class C felony.

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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