Chief Popwell Gives Crime, K-9 Funeral Updates At City Council

The Niceville Police Department released its crime statistics for the month of July 2022 at August 9th’s Niceville City Council Meeting. 


Chief David Popwell told the council the police received 3,242 calls for the month of July. NPD made a total of 21 arrests – nine for felony crimes. 


The Chief did not make a note of whether or not there were any DUI arrests in city limits this month. 


Chief Popwell noted that police were in place during a protest in the city limits earlier this month, but the protest resulted in no arrests. “Everyone played by the rules,” Chief Popwell told the council. 


Crime has continued to trend downward in the city since the beginning of the year. Since January 1st, 86 misdemeanor and 74 felony arrests have been made. 

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Funeral Arrangements for K-9 Blue

K-9 in front of a memorial
K-9 Blue in Front of a memorial


A tough week continues for the Police Department as they deal with the loss of K-9 Blue. The K-9 died in a car crash on Highway 85, which put his partner, Sergeant Phillip Ritcheson, in the ICU at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Sgt. Ritcheson has non-life threatening injuries, according to the Chief. 


Chief Popwell announced to the city council the department would hold a memorial service for the K-9 on August 26th at 10 am. Currently, the memorial service will take place at the community center in the Niceville City Admin Complex, between the park and the library. Chief Popwell alerted the council that hundreds had already announced their intention to come to the ceremony and that they may need to use the city council and library as overflow for guests. 


Blue’s body is currently at the Bluewater Bay Veterinary Clinic and will be cremated. His remains will be given to his handler, Sgt. Ritcheson. 


Councilman Bill Schaetzle asked the Chief whether or not the department intends to replace Blue. The Chief indicated that they are not thinking about that – and continue the grieving process. He did mention that multiple offers to pay for a new drug-sniffing police dog, which can cost around $14,000 to train, have come to the police department. 

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