Posse raising funds for 2 new ‘deputy dogs’

Staff Report

A Sheriff’s Department auxiliary group has launched “Project Deputy Dog,” a new fundraising effort to add two “K-9” deputies and pay for their training and other expenses.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse also hopes to raise enough money for the future purchase of additional replacement canines as the dogs reach the end of their service life at around 8 years old.

Project Deputy Dog seeks to raise about $160,000. In addition to the purchase of specially bred dogs, the program would fund basic law enforcement training, specialized training for tracking, narcotics and bomb detection, other important continuing training, food and veterinary care, specialized equipment and other needs.

The effort is being led by Posse board member Sue Pohls of Solvang, who learned of the needs at the Sheriff’s Office canine demonstration during last year’s Posse fund- and barn-raising event for the Sheriff’s Office Mounted Enforcement Unit.

“This is a cause it’s easy to get passionate about, especially for any of us who are dog lovers,” she said. “It combines a tremendous law enforcement asset to help protect all of us who live in Santa Barbara County and provides these dogs with a job and mission that they are enthusiastic about.”

One of the sheriff’s four patrol operations dogs is getting close to retirement, which creates an urgent need to add an additional K-9 that is trained in patrol, tracking, and bomb and explosive detection. The additional dog would allow for two narcotics-trained and two bomb-trained canines in the county and would allow for 365-day coverage for all of Santa Barbara County.

The additional dog, which Project Deputy Dog hopes to fund, would be for a narcotics-detecting K-9 assigned to the county’s custody facilities to detect illicit narcotics, a job now handled by custody deputies who must devote time conducting body and property searches.

“Our K-9 corps is an invaluable asset in the county’s law enforcement efforts,” said Lt. Kevin Huddle, who supervises the program. “They are an extremely efficient part of our department and can accomplish feats that are impossible for our human deputies.”

“After extensive training, our canines are teamed with a deputy and work as a dedicated team. Each of the dogs are a part of both the Sheriff’s Office family and that of their handler. The bond and the dedication that exists is extraordinary and every one of the dogs have provided heroic feats in service to protecting citizens of the County,” he added.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Posse is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization, making donations tax deductible.

Recently, the Sheriff’s Posse has helped the Sheriff’s Office obtain equipment including protective vests, night vision goggles, specialized weapons, computer equipment, and a barn for its Mounted Enforcement Unit. The posse also has supported the DARE program in county grammar schools that trains students to develop good decision-making skills and an understanding of the harmful effects of substance abuse, bullying and violence.

For more information, visit www.sbsheriffsposse.org.