By Lt. James Hernandez, AA/PIO
Mule Creek State Prison

Correctional Officer M. Vasquez, an 11-year CDCR veteran, is the assigned handler for the canine team at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP).


Officer Vasquez was paired with his new partner Cricket, a 2-year old black Labrador retriever. This new team had a couple of weeks to get to know each other before starting their training together January 20. They completed their training and were certified to find narcotics on February 28. Officer Vasquez and Cricket have participated in searches at several CDCR institutions with positive results.

On May 16, Officer Vasquez and Cricket entered into their first competition with the Western States Police Canine Handlers Association (WSPCA).  It was bittersweet, as they did not place but learned a great deal and set their sights higher standards.

Officer Vasquez and Cricket entered another WSPCA competition on June 13, and placed fourth out of 22 teams.  The next WSPCA competition was on June 27, and Officer Vasquez and Cricket returned to the podium, placing second out of a field of 20 teams.

After just four months on the job, the novice K-9 team of Officer Vasquez and Cricket are making a name for themselves, as well as showing the pride and dedication of CDCR staff.

Teams competing within WSPCA include:

San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department; Galt Police Department; West Sacramento Police Department; Travis Air Force Base; Placer County Sheriff’s Department; U.S. Customs; San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department; Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department; South Lake Tahoe Police Department; San Leandro Police Department; California Highway Patrol; Alameda Police Department; Tracy Police Department; Yuba County Sheriff’s Department; and Elk Grove Police Department.