CLINTON -- Police have launched an internal probe into the killing of two pit bulls by Roy officers while serving a search warrant on the Clinton home of a robbery suspect.
Police said that when they approached the home on Thursday afternoon, located near 2300 North and 700 West, the dogs became aggressive and attacked officers as they tried to arrest Eric Lamar Palmer, 26.
Since the incident occurred in Clinton, police there are also reviewing the case. As far as the internal investigation goes, that may take some time to complete, Roy Police Chief Greg Whinham said Saturday.
"It's an after-action, use-of- force report," he said. "It's reviewed by the training division, then the division commander and then it comes to me."
After the shooting, messages of praise and disdain for the officers began surfacing on a number of media websites from people who claim to live in the neighborhood.
In an interview with the Standard-Examiner, Palmer's father, Gary Palmer, also blasted police for their use of force against the dogs.
Palmer said he did not witness the incident, but that several neighbors told him the dogs were not aggressive toward the officers.
"One lady even got out of her truck and approached the officer and said 'Why did you shoot that dog? He was not provoking you,'! " Palmer said.
Police say they had been conducting surveillance of the home for several days and decided to serve the search warrant that afternoon. Whinham said they knew the dogs were there, but because Palmer was a suspect in a violent robbery, they wanted to enter the home fast and did not have time to make arrangements for the dogs to be removed.
"This was not a low-risk warrant. He is suspected of using guns in a robbery," Whinham said. "Speed is critical. The idea of slowly going through the process of a warrant service is highly dangerous. Our priority, first and foremost, is the safety of human life."
Palmer denied that his son posed any risk to the officers and said they should have been more careful in approaching the home.
"I'm not saying he didn't commit that robbery," Palmer said. "I don't know. I haven't been able to talk to him since they hauled him off. That's not my issue here.
"If they would have contacted him," Palmer continued, "he could have restrained his dogs and come out and talked to the officers."
One of the officers involved in the shooting reported one of the dogs bit him on the boot.
Each officer was attacked by one of the two dogs and both officers independently felt force was necessary to ensure their safety, Whinham said.
"At this point, I see they acted absolutely per training," he said.
Eric Palmer was booked into Weber County Jail following the shooting on an outstanding felony warrant for failure to appear for drug court.
Police questioned Palmer in connection with an April 19 robbery at Hoffman Cleaners. A man entered the business at 1995 W. 5600 South on that afternoon with a handgun and demanded cash from a clerk.
Whinham said they may seek charges against Palmer in the robbery, but that the investigation is still in the early phases, and he doesn't expect charges in the coming week.