Dana Simas, Public Information Officer
Correctional Officer Chris Salopek and his dog Taser were on duty and conducting a search of the perimeter of Salinas Valley State Prison along Highway 101 on Dec. 10.
During the search the pair came across several large black plastic trash bags on the side of the road, waiting to be picked up by inmate work crews. Taser sniffed around and alerted Officer Salopek to one bag in particular. Inspection of the bag revealed one ounce of marijuana, 18 ounces of tobacco, three cell phones, three cell phone chargers, pre-paid calling cards, SIM cards, and two two-liter soda bottles filled with alcohol.
If the material had ended up inside the institution, it could have endangered staff, inmates, and the public.
Taser, a 3-year old German shepherd, has been working for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) since November 2010. His discoveries have been outstanding. He is cross-trained to not only to detect the odor of narcotics, but also cell phones and tobacco.
Taser was donated by Nancy Rynard, owner and operator of Westwood Kennels in Ohio. Rynard specializes in breeding and training German shepherds for law enforcement agencies. She heard about CDCR’s program and donated Taser and his brother Max to the department. Max is assigned to Sgt. Jeremy Packard at Folsom State Prison.
Officer Salopek and Taser have been active in the Western States Police Canine Association Trials over the last year and consistently place in the top three in competitions with other law enforcement agencies throughout the State.