If he wasn’t wearing a sheriff collar, there’d be no way to tell the loving 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, Hank, was highly skilled in taking down perpetrators and finding narcotics.
Through community support, the Lassen County K9 Association was able to bring a second patrol dog to the area, joining the team with Brinks.
“We’re a team. Everything he does I do and vice versa, said his handler deputy Alex Meier.
The department received Hank at the beginning of November, and since then, he has lived, trained and worked with Meier. The main draw to Hank, who came from Meyer’s Police K9 Training, was his ability to switch between being playful and good with kids and then being able to work.
“Hank is big and a little bit goofy,” said Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon during the Tuesday, Feb. 20 supervisors meeting, noting that trainers have commented on how hard of a bite Hank has, and his speed.
Shortly after Hank arrived, Meier and the pup went to a five week, 200-hour training together. Every month the pair attends an additional 16 hours of training.
Through his training, Hank is capable of searching and sniffing out narcotics and alerting his handler of any find. The trained pup can search for and find items in the field, can find people and can protect officers by taking down and biting a bad guy.
“I think he’ll do really good. His drive is just through the roof,” said Meier.
The monthly training for the dog and the handlers allows the K9 officers to be comfortable in all situations and elements, whether it be water or mountains.
Getting Hank proved to be a little daunting, however. The Lassen County K9 Association had to raise enough money to acquire the pup and all the needed equipment — but the community came through.
One large donation, for $9,500 from Ken and Holly Gullion at J and K Guns, helped cover the cost for Hank alone.
“The law enforcement departments … they need more tools,” said Ken Gullion on the large donation. “Our community has welcomed us since we opened up and we wanted to give back.”
Growdon noted the association raised about $18,000 to bring in the second patrol dog. Treats at Milwood Florist supplies the food for both patrol dogs.
The sheriff also commented on both dogs’ skill set.
“Those dogs, they’re invaluable,” said Growdon. “They’re some of the best dogs in the North State.”
Meier said he plans on bringing Hank out to the community, like school events, once the two become more familiar with each other.
“He’s part of the community. So we’ll get him out there.”
Until then, Meier and Hank will continue to uncover narcotic drugs and find those breaking the law.