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A Rapid City police dog bit and injured a bystander Saturday evening while trying to arrest the man who fell through the ceiling of a casino last week

The Rapid City Police Department "is reviewing the facts surrounding the incident to ensure it doesn’t happen again," the department said in a news release. 

The department also offered to pay for the man's medical care after he was taken to the hospital, Lt. Mark Eisenbraun said Monday.

Police learned over the weekend that the man arrested for disorderly conduct after he fell through the casino ceiling Sept. 4 while trying to evade police had given a fake name and identification card, according to the news release.

The man, who was released on bond soon after his arrest, was correctly identified as 32-year-old Travis Sipes of Rapid City who had an arrest warrant issued Sept. 4 after failing to return from furlough, the news release says. Eisenbraun said Sipes was originally in jail for failing to appear on a grand theft charge.

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Sipes again ran away from officers when they found him around 6 p.m. Saturday on the 400 block of East St. Patrick Street, the news release says. After Sipes fled, Eisenbraun said, officers knocked on doors in the area to tell people to stay inside since a police dog was going to use Sipes' scent to track him down. 

Rapid City police dogs are trained to bark at a suspect in order to detain them but to bite if the suspect tries to fight or flee, Eisenbraun said. 

Following Sipes' scent, the dog ran off leash into the backyard of a house where people had been warned to stay inside and bit the man's leg when he ran, Eisenbraun said. An officer soon arrived and pulled the dog off the man, and Sipes was found in a shed just over the fence from the backyard. 

Sipes was arrested without incident on the 300 block of the street and charged with second-degree escape, the release says.

The dog, who's been with the department for two or three years, is still working while officers investigate the incident, Eisenbraun. He said police dogs have bitten the wrong person in the past, but he's not sure when it last happened.

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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