Rescue dog helps take bite out of contraband drugs at Deuel

Correctional Officer Robert Willox and rescue dog Molly help fight contraband narcotics at DVI.

Correctional Officer Robert Willox and rescue dog Molly help fight contraband narcotics at DVI.

By Lt. Christene Zoucha, AA/Public Information Officer
Deuel Vocational Institution

Molly, a rescue dog donated to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from the Vacaville Police Department, actively seeks out contraband drugs at Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI).

DVI Correctional Officer Robert Willox received rescue dog Molly from Vacaville Police Lt.  Jan Makowski on Aug. 7, 2013.

Molly started the K-9 academy on Oct. 8, 2013 and completed the academy five weeks later.  She is trained in the detection of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana.

So far, the CDCR K-9 has managed to sniff out 33.3 grams of meth; 3,083.8 grams of marijuana; 4.8 grams of heroin; and 1 gram of marijuana butane hash oil (BHO).

Molly also lends her highly trained nose to other agencies. She’s participated in searches with Homeland Security, DEA, FBI, Stockton Police Department, CDCR Special Services Unit, Tracy Police and the Division of Adult Parole Operations.

Her alerts have led to numerous search warrants on the streets and have resulted in the arrests of visitors and family members involved in trying to bring narcotics into a prison.

Officer Willox, who serves as an Investigative Services Unit (ISU) Officer, said their routine varies.

On a weekly basis they search milk trucks, visiting rooms and family visiting rooms, the dairy, plant operation, mailroom and multiple warehouses.

DVI sits on 793 acres, creating a large search area for one K-9 and one ISU Officer.

"Molly is the only partner I will let lick my face," said Officer Willox.

“Molly is the only partner I will let lick my face,” said Officer Willox.

When information is gathered, they search cells for narcotics. According to Officer Willox, Molly knows almost instantly if there is something in a cell that would take officers hours to search.

Officer Willox trains and searches with Molly a minimum of an hour each day. They also have days consisting of 8 hours of searching and training.

According to Officer Willox, everything with Molly is a training opportunity including basic commands such as “sit” and “stay.”

Officer Willox credits Molly with a large percentage of their discoveries.

“Becoming a K-9 ISU Officer is one of the most rewarding and challenging things I have done in my career,” Officer Willox said. “Molly is the only partner I will let lick my face. She is a huge morale booster.  Officers and staff enjoy seeing her at work. She brightens up their day.”


10 Responses

  1. Maria Tuesday, December 8, 2015 / 4:19 pm

    I hope we have plans for “Molly” when they retire 🙂

  2. Wayne Conrad Saturday, December 5, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Molly was one of the first team of passive alert dogs I trained for the department. Up to that point, all we had were aggressive alert Mals. Robert and Molly did great in training and continued to excel as time went on. Cannot thank Jan and Donna Makowski enough for giving Molly to the department and giving her the opportunity to be a part of the team. Kudos to all!

  3. Karrie Thursday, December 3, 2015 / 12:02 pm

    Every institution should be using K-9s for searches. What an underused resource!

  4. lacey Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    Thank you for highlighting the accomplishments of a rescue dog. There are so many wonderful animals that need homes. Adopt, don’t shop!

  5. Arnel Bona Wednesday, December 2, 2015 / 8:54 am

    Keep up the good work Rob and Molly. Great story Chris.

  6. Jeff Carrillo Tuesday, December 1, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Using rescue dogs for K-9 units within CDCR is a brilliant idea. Many dogs of all breeds that can be trained to excel at such work can be found in numerous shelters. Can you imagine how much contraband would be discovered and confiscated by frequent searches by K-9 units?

  7. Tuesday, December 1, 2015 / 10:48 am


    Tell Molly I misss her smile every day since I left DVI.
    Stay proud of her. Great job.

    Gary Martinez
    Pest Control Technician CF

  8. Hector Rodriguez, Retired Tuesday, December 1, 2015 / 10:40 am

    All institutions should have a K-9.

  9. Elizabeth Chavez Tuesday, December 1, 2015 / 10:39 am

    Go Officer Molly! Kudos to you and CO Willox, of course.

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