How can you take part?
The Winters Police Department is exploring several financial options to help support this program. If you would like to take part, the Department is accepting donations to the Winters K9 Fund (City Tax ID #946000457).
You also have an opportunity to purchase a Winters Police Department Canine Program Supporter T-Shirt for $25. We will also be offering the shirts at outreach events in the community. Be sure to click on the link below.
All donations to the Winters K9 Fund will be used to benefit the program. Funds will be used to purchase equipment (vehicle, K9 vehicle kit, leashes, etc), training, and ongoing maintenance (dog food, grooming tools, vaccinations, etc).
About the Program
The City of Winters is about 2.9 square miles and has a population of about 6900 citizens. New businesses and housing development opportunities are allowing the City to grow and expand. With a growing City and many new projects on the horizon the need for more efficient and effective tools has never been timelier.
The Winters Police Department has made significant strides in community outreach, staff additions, and equipment. A thriving K-9 program is a key stone in expanding the excellent service the Police Department already provides and it will continue the tradition of excellent service in the community by increasing public safety and providing an engagement tool during public events.
The Winters Police Department has previously had two successful K-9 programs. Officer Mary Alvarez with K-9 “ARRAS” from 95-97 and Officer Al Doreo with K-9 “AIK” from 99-01. Both canines assisted during a range of calls such as physical confrontations, narcotic enforcement, and physical searches of buildings. Additionally the dogs worked well with their handlers and fellow Officers and had a great relationship with the community as a whole. As the City grows, a K-9 program is a great asset, not only for the members of the Winters Police Department but also for the Winters community.
How would a Canine be Used?
Canine programs are most effective when they combine elements of patrol (such as searching and apprehension) with community service. Canines in law enforcement are often referred to as a “force multiplier.” In a law enforcement context, the term acknowledges the skillful use of a canine to complete a task can match or exceed the number of law enforcement officers needed to perform the same task.
For example during an audible alarm call, Officers walk through the building to make sure no one is inside who shouldn’t be there. An alarm at a school or large business will take longer to walk through then an alarm at a residence. The time it takes an Officer to walk through an area is time which could have been used proactively to increase the safety of residents in the City. A canine utilized in the same scenario can clear a building much faster due to apprehension training.
Searching a vehicle for narcotic material is also faster and more efficient with the use of a canine. Officers must search through and/or remove the contents of the vehicle. Then they must determine if portions of the vehicle (such as dashboards, fender wells, and door panels) contain areas used to smuggle narcotics. Canines utilizing narcotic detection training are able to quickly search a vehicle and alert if specific areas require a more in depth search.
Currently, if an Officer needs assistance they call for a cover unit which may take an extended amount of time to arrive. A cover unit is often requested to prevent physical confrontations or assist active confrontations from escalating. A canine trained in apprehension techniques can be utilized in these situations both to assist Officers who have responded to calls and to help de-escalate confrontations which might require additional use of force.
Winters Officers also participate in festivals, presentations, and tours designed to promote community interaction. Winters participates in multiple events each year, including Youth Day, Earthquake Festival, Community Festival, Almond Festival, the Yolo County Fair, Harvest Festival, and school tours. Canines provide an opening for community members to approach law enforcement and interact in a positive manner.