Video by Clarissa Resultan and Ike Dodson

Meet the officers – four- and two-legged – dedicated to ridding California prisons of dangerous contraband.

In February 2019, eight new teams successfully completed the department’s fifth 280-hour K-9 academy. They’re part of the CDCR K-9 program expansion, slated for completion in April 2019, that will result in 76 teams supporting prisons throughout the state.

K-9 teams are just part of an expansive contraband interdiction program that includes Investigative Services Units, metal detectors, parcel scanners, phone interruption technology, low-dose full-body scanners, and detection/elimination of cellphone services. Those efforts combined aim to eliminate contraband inside prison walls with the goal of safer prisons focused on rehabilitative programming and preparing incarcerated people for successful returns home.

From January 2017 to December 2018, CDCR K-9 teams discovered 14,335.9 grams of marijuana, 343.5 pounds of tobacco, 7,109.1 grams of methamphetamine, 4,025.9 grams of heroin and 24,910 phones. Learn more at

The video may also be seen on YouTube (may not be accessible by a CDCR computer):


Officer G. Schmidt

Find it! Good boy! Good boy!

Officer Richard Godinez

I’ve only had two jobs my entire life – Army and the department.

I’ve been in boots for 18 years of my life and it’s a great job.

My dog’s name is Mako and he was deemed “unadoptable.”

And in fact, most of our dogs are rescued.

These animals actually have a career now and actually have a home.

It’s amazing.

He’s a really great dog.

He wants to play.

He wants to come out and work and play, and that’s all he wants to do.

So how the dogs play is work.

When they find the smell that we’ve taught them to smell, that’s when they get the reward.

That’s when they actually get the tug and that’s when they get to play.

Associate Director Felix Vasquez

Today has arrived, you’re graduating. You’re being certified.

You will be representing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the community and throughout the state.

I’m very excited, very happy, to be a part of this team with you all.

Richard Godinez

To have that brotherhood, to have that camaraderie, is amazing.

And you have to trust your partners.

When they do well, you’re happy for them.

To watch all our partners’ dogs do well, it’s our happiest day.

When they find something, that makes us excited.

So it’s a great feeling.