Manteca Police K-9 "Blazer" made his own history in drug investigations in partnership with his handler Officer Chris Mraz who currently heads up the Canine Unit with the rank of sergeant.
The friendly Golden Retriever was brought to the Mraz home on Christmas Eve nearly 15 years ago when he was only eight weeks old. "Blazer" was a gift for Mraz' son Luke. Luke is now a college sophomore at Consumnes River College where he is considering a criminal justice major.
Following a lengthy career of serving in the field with Mraz, he was retired to the officer's home where he lived out his life as one of the family passing away this week at the age of 15.
With logging over 100 arrests in narcotics detection, Blazer, with his deep bark, accomplished seven more that had nothing to do with drugs.
Mraz said the K-9 was Luke's dog over Christmas and when the officer would go to his classroom for a search demonstration, but otherwise he was with the Manteca officer 27/7 both on duty and when they ended their shift and drove home.
The teachers at McParland Elementary School and East Union High School would always ask Mraz to bring his canine to the schools for Red Ribbon Week and show the ribbons he had won for obedience.
The officer said he was just a smart and was certified for service on the street at just a year old where the norm is usually 12 to 18 months.
The canine officer has a book filled with newspaper clippings featuring "Blazer" excelling in his performance making a difference in the community.
He found dope in the frames of cars and underground.
"I remember when Metro Narcotics couldn't find dope (on a call) and he found it buried six inches underground. After he had dug it up, he went back to the area and jumped up on the fence next to the house with his paws. I remember looking at the wind currents and realizing they were coming from the roof and said we had to go look in the attic," Mraz said.
In the attic they discovered $16,000 in drug money hidden in the rafters.
The officer remembers the seven non-narcotic arrests where his canine baffled criminals with them coming out of houses with their hands in the air after hearing his barking and the words of his handler: "This is the Manteca Police Department. Come out with your hands up or I'm sending in the dog."
Mraz said they were usually dumbfounded when they walked out a front door to the reception of a tail-wagging Golden Retriever. He was not like a German Shepherd that had been trained to be aggressive on command.
"Blazer" became a family pet after his retirement.