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Solano County Sheriffs Office K-9 Unit
On July 1, 2002 the Solano County Sheriff's Office implemented its first canine program utilizing grant funds from the California Department of Justice, Office of Criminal Justice Planning. The Sheriff's Office originally purchased two dogs for law enforcement duty as a pilot program. And on May 9, 2003 the K-9 Unit was expanded to three canine teams. The canines are Malinois, a type of Belgian Shepard successfully used in support of the military and law enforcement for many years. "King" is assigned to Deputy Sheriff Michael Waller, "Niko", is assigned to Deputy Sheriff Craig Collins, with our newest addition, "Basco", assigned to Deputy Sheriff John Swafford. In 2006, the K-9 Unit was expanded to five teams, with Deputy Sheriff Bill Elbert handling "Khan", and Correctional Officer Randy Pratt with "Buddy", a Labrador Retriever.
Supervision of the canine program is assigned to Sergeant Brad DeWall. Deputy Mike Waller has the honor and responsibility of providing training to the Sheriff's Office Canine Teams. Each handler assigned to patrol has been assigned a specially equipped K-9 patrol car. These cars provide comfort and safety for the canines while riding on patrol. Padded platforms replace the rear seat and climate controls automatically roll down the rear windows, turn on a fan, and alert the handler via pager of excessive interior temperatures when away from their patrol car. They are also equipped with remote activated door releases for rapid canine deployment and handler protection.
Each canine team has had to complete an intensive 6-week training program administered by Deputy Mike Waller. Under the guidance of Deputy Waller, the handlers and canines are trained in obedience, handler protection, open area searching, and scent detection in preparation for their Peace Officers Standards of Training (P.O.S.T.) certification. Canines "King" and "Basco" are cross-trained in narcotics detection, while "Khan" and "Buddy" are single purpose narcotic detection trained. "Niko" is cross-trained to detect explosives to provide additional security for the Solano County Courts and Government buildings. The canines are capable of locating hidden narcotics and explosives in the field, while "Buddy" is used to screen for narcotics in the Sheriff's detention facilities.
The Canine Teams compete in the Western States Canine Association K-9 Trials, as well as the annual Police Olympics.
The Sheriff's Office K-9 Teams also participate in public demonstrations, visit schools to promote drug awareness, and neighborhood watch meetings, as part of the Community Oriented Policing Program. K-9 Teams assigned to the Patrol Division are routinely called upon to assist in locating and apprehending fleeing criminal offenders, search vehicles for hidden narcotics/explosives, narcotic related search warrants, and to assist local, state and federal agencies.
See Photo's Below: