ARCADIA >> The Arcadia Police Department lone K-9 will be patrolling the city with a new bullet- and stab-resistant vest, thanks to an anonymous donor and non-profit group dedicated to keeping four-legged law enforcement officers safe.
Zoli, a not-quite-2-year-old German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix partnered with Officer Josh Foulks, will receive his new gear in eight to ten weeks, Arcadia police officials said in a written statement.
The vest is being procured by an anonymous donor, through the national nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s. It will be embroidered with the phrase, “Born to love — Trained to serve — Loyal always.”
Zoli joined the Arcadia Police Department in November, becoming the department’s first K-9 in 12 years. He is cross-trained for both suspect apprehension drug detection.
Vested Interest in K9s is a charity organization founded in 2009 and based in Taunton, Massachusetts, with the mission of providing bullet- and stab-resistant vests to police dogs throughout the Unites States.
The vests, which are custom made Armor Express in Central Lake, Michigan, are valued at $1,795 to $2,234 each, Arcadia police officials said. Through Vested Interest in K9s, $1,050 must be raised for each vest supplied.
The organization has distributed more than 2,400 K9 vests in all 50 states, including many to San Gabriel Valley law enforcement agencies.
Eligible dogs must be actively employed by a U.S. law enforcement agency, certified and at least 20 months old. Both new applicants and dogs with vests that have passed their five-year expiration dates can participate.
For more information, visit Vested Interest in K9s at www.vik9s.org.
PHOTOS: [ABOVE]: Arcadia police Officer Josh Fouls and K-9 Zoli, courtesy. [BELOW] File courtesy photo – Monterey Park Police K-9 Robin, with handler Agent Peter Palomino, received a protective vest in June of 2015 as a donation from nonprofit organizations Vested Interest in K9s Inc. and the Animal Health Foundation of Lake Forest.
PASADENA >> The Pasadena Police Department’s first female police dog has taken to the streets with the city’s first female K-9 handler.
Kyra, a 3-year-old Dutch Shepherd from the Netherlands, is partnered with Officer Lynda Mercado.
“(Kyra) is skilled in both suspect apprehension and finding explosive devices,” Pasadena Police Foundation officials said in a written statement.
The team began serving Pasadena earlier this year, officials said.
“At a slim 55 pounds, Kyra has been trained to negotiate a variety of obstacles that are presented to officers that work in the field,” according to the statement. “Currently, she is being trained to detect explosives in open areas as well as confined spaces. This is particularly important since Pasadena is home to a large stadium like the Rose Bowl and hosts the world famous Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. These venues host large audiences and therefore Kyra is taught to alert police quickly to save lives.”
Pasadena police now have four four-legged officers on duty. In addition to Kyra, they include a German shepherd, a Belgian Tervuren and a Belgian Malinois.
Each dog has unique traits and duties.
German shepherds, for example, tend to conduct searches slowly and methodically, Mercado explained. Belgian Malinois tend to be more aggressive in their search tactics, immediately running deep into the search area.
“Kyra is like both of these breeds combined into one and is very adaptable under these extreme situations,” Mercado said.
The police dogs and their handlers train weekly, officials said.
“As part of the training, we practice a variety of scenarios in a variety of terrain so the dogs get used to the differences,” Mercado said.
The purchase of Kyra, along with the specialized SUV to transport her, was funded by the Pasadena Police Foundation.
When not on duty, Kyra lived with her human counterpart.
“I enjoy working with this very smart, reliable dog,” Mercado said. “I bring her home with me at night and she is more than ready to go to work the next day.”
PHOTOS courtesy of the Pasadena Police Foundation
MONTEREY PARK >> A four-legged Monterey Park police officer will soon be patrolling with a bullet- and stab-resistant vest thanks to a donation from a charity organization dedicated to protecting police K-9s.
“Piro,” a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, has been apprehending suspects and sniffing out drugs since completing training about eight months ago, Monterey Park police Sgt. Gus Jimenez said. The dog is handled by Officer Ryan Esquibel.
Vested Interests in K9s Inc. announced Friday hat Piro had been selected to received a free vest, provided by Michigan-based manufacturer Armor Express, Jimenez said. The vest is expected to arrive next week.
Monterey Park police have to other K-9s — Robin and Veeda — which have both previously received donated vests through the Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization, the sergeant said.
Vested interests in K9s has provided more than 1,600 protective vests to police dogs in 49 states at a cost of $1.5 million, donated by private and corporate sponsors, Jimenez said.
The group estimates there are more than 30,000 law enforcement dogs in the U.S.
For more information on Vested Interest in K-9s, visit www.vik9s.org.
PHOTO of Monterey Police Officer Ryan Esquibel and K-9 Piro courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.
BAKERSFIELD >> All three of the West Covina’s Police Department’s K-9 teams brought back awards, including the “Top Dog Overall” award, in a statewide competition hosted by Bakersfield police over the weekend.
Officer Matt Bowman and K-9 partner Rec earned the Top Dog honor for the department, while Officer Bryan Rodriguez and Reiko won first place in patrol protection and Officer Jesse Miller and Rocky won fourth place in overall best, according to West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez.
“I am very proud of the professionalism our K-9 teams showed, the time and preparation they invested in training and their overall performance,” West Covina Police Chief Dave Faulkner said. “Their success is attributed to discipline and ongoing training within the unit.”
Forty-two police dog teams from throughout California competed in a series of categories, including agility, obedience, searches, protection, narcotics detection and explosives detection, Lopez explained.
It was the West Covina Police Department’s first time joining the Bakersfield Police K-9 Trials, hosted by the Bakersfield Police Department, and they were up against much more experienced teams, Lopez said. Bowman has about eight months experience as a dog handler, while Miller has been a K-9 handler for about five months, and Rodriguez had been teamed with Reiko for 10 months.
And Reiko has recovered from being shot while apprehending a murder suspect who was ultimately killed by police.
It’s not always certain how a police dog will react to such a trauma, Lopez said. Some become more timid after such an experience.
But as evidenced by his performance over the weekend, Lopez said, “This dog became an even sharper dog.”
The West Covina police K-9 program is supported by the Friends of the West Covina Police Department K-9s. For more information, visit www.friendsofwcpdk9s.org.
In addition to commending the winning K-9 teams, Faulkner thanks the organization for their past and continued support.
“I also want to recognize and thank the Friends of WCPD K9s nonprofit group for their continued support in assisting us in our pursuit of adding a 4th Police K-9 to the Department,” the chief said.
The annual Bakersfield Police K-9 Trials is open to the public, with proceeds benefitting the Bakersfield-based charity, the Society for Disabled Children.
PHOTOS courtesy of the West Covina Police Department. From left to right (top photo): Officer Matt Bowman and Rec: Officer Bryan Rodriguez and Reiko; Officer Jesse Miller and Rocky.