Axel, Sultan retired: City Council approves purchase of two new K-9s

October 30, 2002
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesWith two of the city’s police dogs retired, the City Council approved bringing replacement K-9s on board to help bring back the strength of the canine cops.The council approved purchasing the K-9s at the Sept. 16th meeting after several questions about the program.“I started calling around to see how many agencies have dogs,” said Councilman Rick Cook, and “one of the biggest” has very few K-9s. Cook also noted his concern with police overtime costs for training purposes.“I don’t have any answers how many dogs are in other departments,” said SPPD Chief Bob Gonzales, who noted that the city’s K-9 program was founded in 1981, and “I strongly support having them in the field. . .”Sultan, whose partner is Sr. Officer Jimmy Fogata, was retired due to age and physical condition; Sr. Officer Joey de los Reyes’ Axel was also retired due to disability, said Chief Gonzales.The only dog left in the field is Jack, whose partner is Officer John Coffelt, he added.
“There is no magic number in having so many dogs per department or the city,” said Chief Gonzales. “I made the comment when we purchased Jack that we need another dog and I’d like four, have a dog on duty around the clock.” Statistically, K-9 handlers have a lower injury rate, and “they have a very calming effect, when the dog shows up it calms things down.”The city has used drug forfeit asset funds to purchase dogs, he added, and is still collecting interest on same.The cost of the two dogs and all training - including narcotic detection - would be $24,000 and would be drawn from the fund, said Chief Gonzales. Explosive detection training might also be sought as a “sign of the times. . .”Mayor Ray Luna asked if there is “any data on which breed is better, shepherds of rottwielers?” and Chief Gonzales said the former are the dog of choice.The full council approved the expenditure; the cost of each dog is $7,507 and officer training of seven weeks is $12,982.

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