If someone gets reported missing in the city or a dangerous suspect is sought, chances are a Murrieta police K-9 officer and his four-legged companion will be called to the scene, be presented with an article of that person’s clothing or belongings and get to work.
Their keen sense of hearing and smell coupled with their speed and agility can locate people or objects, such as evidence, in less time than officers while also preventing injuries to the human counterparts, according to the city website.
For this and other examples of the vital role the Murrieta Police Department K-9 Team plays, the community is invited to the second annual Paws 4 Law Foundation benefit event to be held Saturday, Oct. 5.
“We are trying to build awareness of what the K-9 team brings to the city,” said Murrieta police Sgt. Daryl Underwood, who oversees the program. “...To have five dogs in a city our size is pretty unusual.”
The team consists of: Kazan, a German shepherd, handled by Cpl. Jay Elliott; Dutch shepherds Frankie, handled by Officer Sean Lawlor and Blitz, handled by Officer Sean Waterman; Rocky, a Belgian Malinois, handled by Officer Norbert Moll; and Maddy, a bloodhound, handled by Officer Travis Shows.
“All over Southern California—Fontana, Santa Ana, Anaheim—police agencies mostly all have these K-9 nonprofits, so that is kind of where we came up with the idea,” Underwood told Patch.
“In an economy where budgets can get tightened up, we have to have other resources go to to maintain the current level of K-9 staffing that we have; we can’t just assume the city is going to be able to keep funding us at this level.”
In the inaugural Paws for Law benefit held in October 2012, $4,800 was raised, Underwood said.
For the foreseeable future, that money is being stockpiled to eventually assist the department in developing a K9 training center in Murrieta, according to Lisa Parcell, owner of Pampered Pooch Spa & Bowtique and chairperson of Paws 4 Law.
Parcell said she knows Murrieta’s police dogs and their handlers well because she provides free grooming for them every two months.
“This is a building block for them,” Parcell said, of the funds raised thus far.
Because the team currently travels to Escondido, Corona, Riverside and other nearby areas to cross-train with other departments, the foundation’s initial plans were to purchase training equipment to be set up at Murrieta Equestrian Center.
The focus has since shifted slightly, Parcell said, to finding someone willing to donate a local parcel of land where the Murrieta Police K-9 Team can have a permanent training facility. Paws 4 Laws would use its funds to help develop that land where regional K-9 competitions could also be held, she said.
Volunteers, vendors, sponsors and donations are still being sought for this year’s benefit event, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 on the athletic fields of the Calvary Chapel Murrieta Christian Schools campus, 24225 Monroe Ave., Murrieta.
The event will include Murrieta police K9 demonstrations, a dunk-a-cop tank, a kids’ zone, food and drink vendors and a photo booth. Paws 4 Laws will also be selling raffle tickets for the chance to win items donated by local businesses and partners.
For more information about participating in the event, call 951-821-8775 or visit Paws 4 Law’s Facebook page.
Notice: The Murrieta Police Department requested that the public refrain from bringing their dogs to the Oct. 5 event to ensure the safety of the police dogs.