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Va. CO, K-9 honored for heroic actions in restoring order during prison altercation

CO Kharmishia Phillip-Fields and her partner, K-9 Rivan, were named Officers of the Month following an altercation that led to inmates attacking and killing K-9 Rivan



By Sarah Roebuck

WASHINGTON — A corrections officer and her K-9 partner were honored for their heroic actions following an altercation at the Sussex State Prison in Virginia.

Corrections Officer Kharmishia Phillip-Fields and her partner, K-9 Rivan, were named Officers of the Month for April 2024 by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) for the actions they took to restore order during a prison altercation in which K-9 Rivan paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Their actions exemplify the highest standards of valor and dedication in law enforcement, with Rivan’s legacy serving as a profound reminder of the bond between K-9 officers and their human partners,” said William Alexander, CEO of the NLEOMF.

On April 2, three inmates associated with the MS-13 gang attacked another inmate in one of the facility’s housing units, the Virginia Department of Corrections said. A fourth inmate seemed to be supervising the assault.

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Phillip-Fields and K-9 Rivan were on duty near the area of the incident when the attack occurred. Phillip-Fields and Rivan intervened to stop the attack, protect the inmates and restore order.

During the effort to control the situation, Rivan was “violently and repeatedly stabbed and kicked by the inmates.” Despite attempts at lifesaving measures by VADOC staff, Rivan later died at the facility. Phillip-Fields did not sustain serious injuries and attributed her safety to “Rivan’s courageous actions.”

The Officer of the Month Award Program, sponsored by the Police Unity Tour, honors federal, state, and local officers who demonstrate exceptional law enforcement service and unwavering dedication to duty, NLEOMF states.