Duke was born in March 2015. He is from European lines and bred in San Jose, California. I brought Duke home at eight weeks old with the sole intention of him being a personal pet/companion.
While at my department on a day off for a staff meeting, I brought Duke in with me and introduced him to the Chief of Police, Robert Jonsen. Chief Jonsen is a tremendous animal lover and immediately took to Duke. While I was occupied in the meeting, Chief Jonson offered to babysit Duke in his office. Upon my return, I was shocked to see the floor covered in shredded up cardboard and Duke asleep under the desk at the Chief’s feet. The Chief turned to me with a gigantic smile on his face and started, “We had fun, although he peed on my carpet.” I later learned that the Chief had let Duke play with a cardboard box and allowed him to disintegrate it.
While attempting to apologize to the Chief for Duke’s behavior, I was interrupted and told he was welcome back anytime. This is where I made a spontaneous joke of how funny it would be if Duke became our next K9. To my amazement, the Chief cocked his head ever so slightly and said, “I wouldn’t be opposed to that idea.”
So with that seed planted in my head, I began to start my journey of making Duke the best dog I could through socialization, obedience and training.
At 12 weeks old, I enrolled Duke at Bay Area K9. Bay Area K9 is owned and operated by Steve Kensler and Joshua Pennucci in Santa Clara, California. Bay Area K9 provided the basis and foundation for Duke’s obedience and also started his detection skills. Steve and I worked every week for months on his obedience, confidence and tracking ability. Duke took to the training like a duck to water and absorbed every aspect of the training with ease. His intelligence and drive was impressive to watch and his eagerness to please was second to none.
All of my days off were dedicated to Duke and his training. I would take him to different locations to familiarize him with sounds, people and other animals to get him adjusted and comfortable with every possible situation. I would take him to local parks and let him socialize with children and their behavior. This has paid off in the long run as he is comfortable in any situation I place him in. He has been a huge hit at all our local schools when we come to visit. Duke truly enjoys interacting with small children and shows tremendous patience when dealing with them.
On November 2015, I drafted a proposal to Menlo Park Police Commander Dixon and Chief Jonsen to make Duke a certified narcotic detection K9. On May 24th, 2016 the proposal was accepted and ratified by the Menlo Park Police Command Staff and the Menlo Park City Attorney Bill McClure.
On June 27, 2016, Duke and I were enrolled in Trident K9 Consulting based out of San Francisco, California. Trident K9 Consulting is owned and operated by Martin Mahon (SSFPD) and Brit Elmore (SFPD) is their head trainer. During the intensive three-week training, Mahon and Elmore instructed Duke and I on basic K9 handling all the way through to certification for narcotic detection. At the end of the course, Duke was certified through the California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) for the detection of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana. Duke and I continue to conduct weekly update training with Trident K9 Consulting.
On July 29, 2016, Duke and I enrolled in the California Narcotics Canine Association (CNCA) and his detection skills were tested and evaluated during a daylong certification. At the completion, Duke was certified through the CNCA for the detection of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.
Duke has since been incorporated into the Menlo Park Police Narcotic Enforcement Team (NET) and deployed numerous times during enforcement stops and residential searches. I am currently the Sergeant in charge of NET and find him to be a tremendous asset to our team and organization. Duke and his services have been called upon by numerous other outside agencies when a detection K9 is needed.
He is a great ambassador for our department as he has attended numerous school functions and community outings where he meets and greets young children and the citizens we serve. I speak to them regarding dog safety and how Duke performs his duties as a Police K9. Duke is a true embodiment of what a K9 is supposed to be, loyal, driven and intelligent. He is a testament to his regal breed.
Our mission now is to be the best we can be through constant training and serving the citizens of our community by attempting to rid the area of dangerous drugs.