Prescott Valley Police invites everyone to its “K9 Kaper,” an event to introduce Belgian Malinois’ Chewy, Kion, Kato, and Groot to the public. The event will take place from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22 at Little Dealer Little Prices, 2757 N Truwood Dr. in Prescott Valley. Free to the public, K9 Kaper will feature demonstrations of narcotics detection and apprehension skills, photos with the dogs and their handlers, and take-home trading cards with photos and bios of the K9s.
The Department was able to welcome the four new K9s this past fall thanks to a generous donation from community members. The donation came right on time, as PVPD in 2018 retired three K9s – Jake, Turco, and Toyo – all who now live as pets with K9 officers.
Prescott Valley Police K9 Officer Paul Hines, an NPCA (National Police Canine Association) trainer, traveled to Rotterdam, South Holland, in 2018 to personally choose and purchase three K9s.While there, he also met a 6-month-old Belgian Malinois pup that immediately impressed him with its intelligence and drive. After calls home to gain approval from the donors and police command staff for the purchase of a fourth dog, “Groot” joined the other three new K9s traveling home to Arizona.
Hines selected the dogs with an eye to each of the department’s K9 officers’ abilities and experience. The handlers didn’t know until the dogs arrived in Arizona which one they would get.
Officer Caleb Cozens, an experienced PANT (Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking) and patrol officer who previously handled narcotics Labrador Toyo, is now partnered with Chewy. Chewy has excelled on interdiction patrols and in the community. He has excellent tracking and article search skills. Hines said Chewy has shown outstanding apprehension work and “phenomenal” building/area search skills. The social Chewy reminds Hines of his first K9, Joey, he said.
K9 Kion, partnered with Officer Layton Cooper, who previously handled K9 Jake, has an amazing gift for tracking, Hines said. The dog is easy going and social, and a bit more compact than his teammates. Kion has done well in his first months on patrol, with several drug arrests and assistance with Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office details.
Hines was excited to pair the large and powerful Kato, the youngest of the new dogs, with the department’s newest K9 Officer, Justin Ellison. Kato and Ellison are ahead of the game in their training, and proud to have a recent 52-lb. meth bust under their belt. It’s obvious that Kato is bonded with Officer Ellison, and the dog already has a reputation for his desire to please his handler.
K9 Groot, the puppy of the pack, doesn’t look much like a puppy now. He’s growing into a formidable K9 crime-fighting machine with a mind of his own. “He has real tenacity,” Hines said. “When he wants something he’s hard to stop.” Hines said Groot is the most challenging dog he’s ever trained, because the dog is absolutely fearless and unwavering, no matter what he encounters. A bonus is that Groot is “super social,” great with kids and other animals.
Having four fully certified narcotics and patrol dogs now allows Prescott Valley PD to have a K9 unit available seven days a week, 16 hours each day. All of the dogs and their handlers are on standby if needed. The K9s also will be trained to assist with the SWAT team, although this process takes time.
Prescott Valley’s K9s have done well with drug interdiction details on major interstates such as I17 and I40, as evidenced by several recent large drug busts. However, Hines said he is more drawn to working with the dogs in the local community to take drugs and habitual criminals off the streets. “Then, the crime associated with those people also goes away,” he said.
Prescott Valley Police Department can be contacted at (928) 772-9267 for non-emergencies, 911 for emergencies. You may also contact Yavapai Silent Witness at 1-800-932-3232.