Hanford Police to get new K9

HANFORD — Police and beer are not two things that usually come together harmoniously, but that’s exactly what the Hanford Police K9 Foundation wants to happen Saturday during the first ever Octoberfest Craft Beer Festival.

Sgt. James Lutz said the event will be Hanford’s first craft beer festival and will raise money for the Hanford Police K9 Foundation, which is a nonprofit foundation formed in 2015 to address the need to raise money to buy police dogs for Hanford PD.

Police K9s are quite expensive, Lutz said, averaging about $20,000 for both the dog and training; not to mention the K9 vehicle, which he said costs about $40,000 to outfit with the proper equipment.

 Through the foundation, Lutz said the department has been able to purchase one K9, an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois by the name of Bodo (though Lutz said the name could change when he gets to the department).

Bodo just completed his first of eight weeks of training in Banning. He will be a dual purpose dog, trained in both apprehension and narcotics detection, Lutz said.

Lutz said Hanford hasn’t had a dog since Dodger, an English springer spaniel narcotics detection dog that was given to the department by the U.S. Department of Justice. Hanford PD lost Dodger when his handler moved to a different agency.

Officer Josh Chavez was selected to be the K9’s handler, and is currently training with Bodo in Banning.

Chavez said he trains with Bodo for eight hours every day, and that the training has gone well so far. He said the training varies from day to day and includes things like narcotics detection, building searches, apprehension and obedience.

Chavez said he hopes the department will be able to purchase more K9s because he believes they are a benefit to every officer and can potentially save lives.

“To be selected for this position is a step in my career that I’m excited about,” Chavez said. “It’s just a matter of training hard. I’m going to get out what I put into it, so I’ll put in 110 percent and I’m hoping to get that back.”

Lutz said the entire Hanford Police Department is eager for Bodo and Chavez to finish training and get to work. He said the department has had narcotics detection dogs before, but Bodo will be the first apprehension dog for the department.

“To start [a K9 program] from ground zero is pretty difficult,” Lutz said. “We’ve had a lot of help from Kings County [Sheriff’s Office] and Lemoore PD helping us with forming our K9 foundation and the unit.”

Lutz said K9s are a great asset for police departments, not only with narcotics detection and apprehension, but also as a community tool for demonstrations at schools and community events.

Lutz said Octoberfest is actually raising money to help the department purchase a second canine. He said they are close, so the fundraiser will hopefully get them to the point of being able to bring two dogs to Hanford.

“Our goal is to one day have enough to buy four dogs — one per shift,” Lutz said.

Lutz said the foundation tried to think outside the box and come up with a fundraiser that is fun and different. He said four food vendors will be at the event and local musician JJ Brown is set to perform that night as well.

“It’s going to be a good time,” Lutz said. “It’s only $35 and it’s unlimited sample tastings until the beer runs out or it’s over at 6 [p.m.]”

A total of 16 local microbreweries will be offering samples of their craft brews and Lutz said each participant will receive a free commemorative five-ounce tasting glass with the Hanford K9 logo.

Lutz said the foundation purchased 800 glasses, so he hopes at least 500 to 800 people show up. All of the proceeds will go into to Hanford Police K9 Foundation.