April 10, 2012

San Leandro Police Provide Police Dog Demonstration

Officer Walt Aldred and Gunner
At McCartney Park on Monday, April 9, 2012, the San Leandro Police Department thanked the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association for a donation to their K9 program by providing a demonstration of their police dogs in action.

Up until two weeks ago, the San Leandro Police Department had two German Shepherd police dogs. Now there are three with the addition of Conan, an 18-month-old dog that is now in the process of bonding with its handler, Officer Jason Bryan. Conan replaces Aero Vikar, a German Shepherd dog that completed a 160-hour K9 school with Bryan in August 2011. According to San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, there wasn't a good fit between Bryan and Aero Vikar, and the dog was returned.

The other K9 teams are veterans Walt Aldred and Gunner and Kevin Hackl and Arago. Gunner joined SLPD in March 2005 and is about nine years old. Arago joined the SLPD in 2007.

The first demonstration involved Officer Aldred sending Gunner after Officer Joey Bacon, who was wearing a protective sleeve on his arm. Gunner took off at full speed towards Bacon until Aldred called off the dog, which quickly laid down facing Bacon.

For the second demonstration, Bacon hid in a trash can and Hackl's dog Arago was sent to find him. After the dog passed by the trash can a few times without any recognition of a suspect hiding in the trash can (and urinated a couple of times on a nearby tree), Hackl explained that the dog was operating under less than ideal conditions and was likely distracted by the crowd watching the demonstration. Once the dog recognized that there was someone in the trash can, the dog put its paws on top of the trash can and furiously scratched at the trash can.

In the third demonstration, Aldred had Gunner perform a search for narcotics that were hidden in a bag on Officer Louie Guillen's bicycle. Gunner is the only San Leandro Police dog that is trained to search for narcotics. Aldred guided the dog to sniff around the bicycle, but appeared to work hard to focus the dog on the bag. It took a while, but once the dog caught a whiff of the narcotics, it gave a clear indication, including barking, that it had detected something.

Sergeant Joey Nguyen-Delgado noted that police dogs typically come from Europe and cost around $10,000. According to Nguyen-Delgado, German Shepherd dogs and Belgian Malinois, which look a lot like German Shepherds, are most common for police service nowadays. Other dogs that have previously served as San Leandro Police dogs include two doberman pinschers, a giant schnauzer, and a rottweiler.

Hackl's dog Arago reportedly killed Chloe, a 6-year-old Finnish Spitz dog in Brentwood on December 26, 2010. Hackl was not present when the dog was killed.

Photos of the event by Tim Holmes

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at April 10, 2012 9:24 AM | TrackBack
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