'Basketball Cop,' deputies team up for Bald Eagle rescue

Bird with broken wing found in woods along Gainesville back road

By Francine Frazier - Senior web editor, Carianne Luter - Associate producer
Headline Goes Here Courtesy of Gainesville Police Departmen

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A Gainesville police officer familiar with positive community stories contributed to another this week with the rescue of an injured Bald Eagle.

Officer Bobby White, better known to many as the Basketball Cop, responded to the call of an injured Bald Eagle on a Northeast Gainesville back road and found the majestic bird about 10 yards into the woods.

White described the rescue on his Basketball Cop Foundation Facebook page.

He said the Bald Eagle was skittish and tried to fly away when it saw the officer, but it had a broken wing and instead scurried deeper into the woods until White lost sight of him.

He said he'd almost given up hope on being able to help the bird when deputies from the Alachua County Sheriff's Office came in for the assist.

“It was a long shot that we would find him, (but) there was no way we weren't going to try to save America's bird,” White wrote. “I literally would have lost sleep over this if I would have been forced to let him go into the woods to die.”

Instead, they used teamwork to score a memorable rescue.

White said he, Deputy Greg Guzman and Deputy David Reibsome spotted the Bald Eagle about 100 yards into the woods, but the scared bird started running away.

“With the help of all of the Tactical Eagle Catching Training we had in the police academy ('all' as in NONE) Deputy Guzman was able to secure him without causing any further injury,” White wrote.

The Bald Eagle was taken to the Eye of the Eagle Wildlife Sanctuary in Newberry for rehabilitation.

“There is no doubt that if it weren't for Deputy Guzman, there would be one less living American Bald Eagle,” White wrote, adding his thanks for the assist.

Officer White is best known for his viral 'Basketball Cop' vide. He was dispatched to a call of kids playing basketball "loudly" in the streets. When he arrived, he joined in the game, saying "If it's ok...we are going to focus on the kids that are out committing crimes." 

 

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