A Leesburg Police K-9 is being lauded as he prepares to retire after a highly successful career.
Banner, who partners with K-9 Officer Gary Herrero, is retiring because of age-related issues that are keeping him from performing at the high level he’s been accustomed to his entire career, a post on the police department’s Facebook page says.
Throughout his career, Banner has been credited with 317 arrests, 96 felony suspect apprehensions, 99 suspect/evidence searches, pounds of illicit narcotic seizures and tens of thousands of dollars in cash seizures. He also took second place in the 2nd Annual Central Florida K9 Competition at Hagerty High School in Oviedo in December 2019.
In March, Leesburg Police arrested 30-year-old Jabron Donte Jackson, who was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance (MDMA) without a prescription, possession of drug equipment, resisting an officer without violence, and driving with a suspended license (habitual offender). K-9 Banner was involved in the incident and proudly posed with all of the drugs and cash that were confiscated.
In January, 19-year-old Akiem J. Nickerson was arrested after Banner performed a free air sniff on a vehicle he was riding in, indicating the likely presence of narcotics. Officers searched the vehicle and found four firearms – two of which had been reported stolen in Lake County – inside a white box that was sitting next to Nickerson in the back seat. Banner was rewarded with a chance to pose with weapons that were confiscated.
In December 2020, Banner alerted on a vehicle to indicate the likely presence of narcotics. Travis Lamont J. Hanberry, 22, was charged trafficking methamphetamine, two counts of possession of cocaine and possession and/or use of drug equipment. And Banner got to pose with another cache of drugs he was responsible for helping to take off the street.
In June 2020, Banner apprehended 40-year-old Brian Nicholas Winthrop, a Pinellas County fugitive who was wanted for sexual battery on a 15-year-old girl. And in January 2020, Herrero and Banner were lauded for quickly catching a thief who ripped off a tip jar from the God Café in downtown Leesburg.
Banner will be retiring to the love and care of another Leesburg Police officer, while Herrero will be training a new K-9 partner in the near future, the Facebook Post reads, adding that the department thanks him for his many years of dedicated and faithful service.