To highlight CDCR’s dedication to keeping prisons safe, Inside CDCR is starting a series of articles called K-9 of the Month.
The articles will feature the top three CDCR service dogs statewide for the previous month. Each region will have a top dog based on amount of contraband/narcotics found, dedication to service, or wins in law enforcement K-9 competitions.
Here are the top three K-9s for the month of March:
Sgt. Jeremy Packard and “Scout”
Folsom State Prison
Active since July 2010
During the month of March, Scout alerted high above him during a search but officers were unable to find anything at that time. A subsequent search of the same area that Scout alerted resulted in the discovery of a large stash of contraband and narcotics concealed in a ceiling. The find resulted in the discovery of 83 grams of marijuana, 24 grams of Hasish, 7 pounds of tobacco, 3 cans of tobacco chew, 12 cell phones, 16 chargers, 1 Bluetooth device, 1 SD card and 1 AT&T go phone SIM card.
Scout, a 5-year old Belgian Malinois, was donated to the department by a woman who was unable to keep him because she was scheduled to attend the California Highway Patrol academy. Scout is trained to detect cell phones as well as narcotics and tobacco.
Sgt. Packard is in an unusual position as he is not only a working K-9 handler, but also serves as the Northern Regional K-9 Coordinator responsible for supervising nine other K-9 teams. He was also recently certified as a Departmental K-9 Instructor, a title that is not awarded to many people as it takes years of dedication and training experience before being considered.
“Scout works so fast, he has to be let off leash to search as keeping him on a leash only slows him down and frustrates him,” Sgt. Packard said. “When in a cell, Scout is able to jump up onto the top bunk which allows him to easily search high places.”
Correctional Officer Robert Hanson and “Viking”
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
Active since July 2010
During the month of February, Officer Hanson and his canine partner Viking conducted 11 search operations spanning 32 hours of actual search time. Viking found 38 cell phones, 23 cell phone chargers, 933 grams of marijuana, 19 grams of heroin, 469.4 grams of methamphetamine, and 359 grams of tobacco.
Viking, a 5-year old Belgian Malinois, is one of seven dogs that were donated to CDCR by Stephanie O’Brian and Jeremy Talmanantes, owners of K-9 Behavior Services in Fillmore, CA. Viking is trained to detect cell phones as well as narcotics and tobacco.
In addition, Office Hanson and Viking participate in Red Ribbon Week each year, going to schools in the community to discuss the dangers of using illegal drugs.
Correctional Officer Miguel Diaz and “Rex”
California Institution for Men
Active since September 2010
Officer Diaz and his canine partner, Rex, recently assisted local law enforcement and CDCR Special Service Unit agents search a home which resulted in the discovery of more than a quarter of a pound of speed.
Rex, a 6-year old Belgian Malinois, was donated to CDCR by Adlerhorst Police K-9 based in Riverside. Rex is trained as a narcotic detection dog.
“The dogs are invaluable in these types of operations,” Southern Regional K-9 Coordinator Sgt. Billy Nelson said. “The dogs are easily able to pinpoint hiding places that are otherwise very difficult to find.”
Sgt. Nelson added that Officer Diaz is an invaluable part of K-9 Unit Operations, and the person he depends on heavily when working with and training other K-9 Personnel in the Southern Region.