Winters Police Department Canine Program
Unfortunately the Winters Police Canine Program to purchase an apprehension/detection Canine has stalled. Due to budget, the program was not able to be picked up this year. The earliest its revival could be explored any further was not until Fiscal Year 2020/2021 (and even then entirely would be dependent on city finances at that time). We would like to thank the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Foothills Canine Association, and our local businesses for their assistance. Due to the extensive delay, we reached out to our largest donors. Our two biggest donors (totaling $22,500) asked for the money to be transferred and used for other worthy causes.
Because of the extended time line, the vehicle donated to the program by the Stanislaus Sheriff Office, was assigned to our existing canine- Kepi. Donations were used to refit the car (installing “K9 hot and pop,” door poppers, mechanical fixes, markings) before it was reallocated. By assigning this resource, Kepi was able to respond to calls all through the summer months while being safe from the heat until her retirement in June of 2021.
To explore and learn more about the apprehension/detection canine program and why we felt it was a good fit for Winters, please download our Canine research paper HERE.
How can you take part?
Donations to the Winters Canine Fund to purchase an apprehension/ detection Canine (City Tax ID #946000457) have been suspended as the program has stalled.
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.