At its regular meeting, the Mendocino Public Safety Foundation considered a grant request from the Fort Bragg Police Department to restart its K9 program, which had expired with the retirement of the only officer who had handled their canine (K9) and run the program.
After a presentation by Chief Fabian Lizarraga and Lieutenant Charles Gilchrist, the Foundation board unanimously approved a grant of $11,500 to start up the K9 program. A source and dog and have identified, with training for its handler included in the cost.
“We currently have three highly motivated, well trained Police Officers who are already attending training with the Sheriff’s Office to lay the ground work for selecting a future K9 handler,” wrote Lt. Gilchrist in a letter to the Foundation. “We would like to purchase a dual-purpose K9 trained in protection and narcotics detection. A K9 of this nature would be a force multiplier available to use in a myriad of situations. It would also be trained to be kid and people friendly when attending community or school events.”
It has been proven that the presence of a police dog, serving as a K9 officer, can help protect other officers and the public, prevent a situation from escalating into violence, and depending on their training may detect dangerous or illicit substances such as bombs or narcotics.
Photo courtesy of Fort Bragg Police Department