K9 officers show skills in Center

Photos by Patrick Shea Center Police Department Officer Adam Fresquez fields questions in Center on July 23. ‘Sarge’ from Salida and K9 officers from the Center Police Department demonstrated their skills at Center Community Park on July 23.

CENTER — The Center Police Department hosted its second annual K9 Competition at the Center Community Park on July 23, a show of skills and agility in canine law enforcement. Participants learned details about the K9 Unit in Center, an overview of the training program, and first-hand experience getting taken down by a K9 officer.

Interim CPD Police Chief Aaron Fresquez shared the microphone with his identical twin brother Adam, another officer in the department (along with sister A.J. Fresquez). They took turns demonstrating drug identification and suspect apprehension while describing the training process and support within the Center community.

“Kitt has been on the force for two years,” Adam Fresquez explained while his brother ran her through the course. “She is a dual-purpose, German Shepherd-Dutch Shepherd cross.”

“Dual-purpose” means Kitt can sniff out illegal narcotics and, if necessary, chase down and apprehend a suspect.

Fresquez described the partnership between the Center Police Department and the Center Consolidated School District. They plan to place one of the K9 officers on campus as a different kind of School Resource Officer.

“We were able to get this school program paid for by Center Schools,” Fresquez said. “They’re going to pay our officer full-time, and we’ll pay the benefits. We’re having an officer in the school the entire time. The dog that’s in the school will be trained in explosives and gunshot residue and firearms.”

Representing the Salida Police Department, a Dutch Shepherd named Sarge correctly identified hidden drugs and completed the obstacle course. Although the Center Police Department K9 Unit currently includes three dogs and has already trained and sold other K9 officers, Salida’s Sarge is the only dog on the force.

Despite other activities scheduled across the Valley, enthusiasts young and old came out to the stadium to see the dogs in action and hear more about the program.

T-shirts and food for sale helped raise funds for the department.

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