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Lathrop Police adding third police dog
lathrop police badge
This is the badge for the new Lathrop Police Department debuting on July 1.

When the City of Lathrop was working with consultants to help establish the new Lathrop Police Department, the decision was made to contract with a company that would provide two police dogs to establish the agency’s K9 unit.

But with several critical incidents occurring the last two months that necessitated the availability of a K9 unit, the Lathrop City Council made the decision last month to spend an additional $19,000 from the transition budget they already approved to purchase a third police dog from the company that was already tasked with providing two others.

The third K9 unit will mean that the department can have a handler and K9 assigned to each shift – meaning that there will always be one on duty at any given time in the city.

Trident K9 Consulting was initially tasked for searching for and purchasing the dogs that will be used in the field and providing the training for handlers that will manage them through their law enforcement duties.

While the dogs will be used in the apprehension of suspects and the discovery of those that may have fled officers, they will also be tasked with a variety of other duties including searching for drugs or firearms, finding items that may have evidentiary value, providing protection for handlers while in the field, reducing personnel time in searching buildings or structures safely, and entering locations that may be unsafe or too small for officers.

But they’ll also serve a completely differently role for the agency.

“K-9s will be used to provide positive ways for our officers to interact with the community,” the city said in the staff report prepared for the item that was approved by the council. “This can be during events at schools, visiting classrooms, present at scheduled City events, National Night Outs, block parties, and other community engagement opportunities.”

The funding to establish the K9 program was already approved by the council as part of the cost of the transition from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office to the new Lathrop Police Department. The item before the council was an amendment to the agreement with Trident that will require the consultant to locate and purchase a third police canine.

To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.