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If you see a cute dog at a gas station, double check it’s not on duty before trying to pet it. The Sheetz gas station chain has hired K9 unit teams–consisting of security officers and dogs–to stand guard at several location in Greensboro, North Carolina. It is the latest chapter in a tragic story.

The afternoon of December 30th, 2023, police officer Sergeant Philip “Dale” Nix was off duty and shopping at a Greensboro Sheetz station when he saw three men steal about $86 worth of beer. He approached their car to confront them and one of the men fatally shot him. Nix was transported to a hospital where he died.

The Sheetz company is not worried about these exact men committing a second crime: they have already been arrested and are in custody. In fact, the company does not even appear to be most worried about that exact location. The intriguing thing about the K9 unit deployment is that it will be at three other Sheetz location in Greensboro.

Man wearing a uniform stands in a hallway with a German Shepherd sitting on his shoulder.
K-9 Unit | American K-9 Interdiction

The company has said it is hiring teams from Virginia-based “American K-9 Interdiction” to patrol these three locations, but not permanently. It described the deployment as a “test” without a pre-defined “timetable.” Is this just a pilot program? Will the corporation expand this strategy to other locations? We’ll just have to wait and see.

“The safety of our customers and employees at Sheetz is a top priority. We continually assess which stores need additional support and have implemented supplemental security measures, including K-9 units, at several Greensboro store locations as an additional safety measure.”

Sheetz spokesperson

The Greensboro police have declined to comment on Sheetz K-9 units.

Learn exactly where the K-9 units will be found and what locals have to say about them in the video below: