The department got its first canine four months ago, when the state shut down the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. That dog is a drug-sniffing English Springer Spaniel named "Dodger," who doesn't look like a typical police canine. "He doesn't scratch or bark. He's a pointer. He'll lock his nose on it. It's called nose popping. He'll basically lock his nose on where he picks up the strongest scent," said Dodger's handler, Officer Jeremy Ricks.
In four months, Dodger has found at least 10 grams of methamphetamine and other drugs. In a way, Monday's block party in Downtown Hanford was all about him. "We wanted to give back to the community. And what better way to give back to our community than to give back to our police department, on the other end of the line when we make dial 9-1-1," said Hanford business owner Delfina Vazquez.
Vazquez owns Rico Coffee Shop in Downtown Hanford. For its grand opening, she organized a fundraiser, with all proceeds going toward the Hanford Police Department's K9 program. "These fundraisers are to help support him, as far as training costs, food costs, and all that good stuff. And hopefully one day expand our unit to buy more dogs," said Ricks.
Hanford currently relies on the Kings County Sheriff's Department when it needs an apprehension dog. Those dogs are larger breeds that are trained to track down and detain suspects. The sheriff's department has four that were all donated by the community. "There are a lot of animal lovers out there. There really are. And they want to give something back to the community. And what a great opportunity to give back to the community and foster their love of animals? What a great match," said Kings County Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam.
Apprehension dogs can cost as much as $20,000 for a pair. Vazquez hoped to raise $7,000 during Monday's fundraiser. A portion of online sales will also go toward the cause.