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K9 Team of the Quarter

K9 Falco and Officer Guzman

What breed is Falco and how old is he?

“He is a Belgian Malinois and he’s only 1.5 years old. Usually K9s start at around 2 years old so I’m lucky because he’s got a long career ahead of him.”

Did you get to pick the name Falco?

“Usually they let the officers pick the name, but he was already named Falco and I liked it so that’s what I stuck with.”

What made you want to become a K9 handler?

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been going to events like the K9 demonstrations and they were always so much fun. Also, my dad was an agitator so I got to learn a lot about the job and what all was involved with becoming a handler from him. It really is wonderful to be here now.” 

What was the process like to become a K9 handler? 

“The selection process took about 2 weeks. It consisted of applying through the department, sitting through a panel interview where I was asked questions regarding specific scenarios, and then I had to train as an agitator - that’s really where I learned the most about the job. Once I was selected to become a handler, I went to the kennel where I was paired with Falco, who was already picked out for me. They basically said ‘Here’s your dog.’ The next phase really was just me taking him home and bonding with him, teaching him that I’m dad and he’s son. After that, we went to the academy for another 6 weeks for training. It’s a lengthy process but if you really want something, you work hard and it pays off in the end.”

What is Falco trained to do?

“He is trained in explosives and patrol work so he’s dual purpose. Before him, the department only had narcotics dogs, but in light of recent events over the past few years, the department felt that it was necessary to train an explosives dog. His work will consist of going to places such as airports and sniffing suspicious or unattended bags and indicating whether or not there are any potential explosives in the bag. Patrol work consists mostly of searching for suspects and assisting with any arrests where the suspects are showing resistance.”

What do you and Falco like to do when you’re not working?

“He likes to go to the park and play fetch. His tennis ball is his life and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it. We also go for runs everyday to stay in shape, keep our stamina up, and maintain our energy.”

Do you have any other pets? If so, how does Falco do with them? 

“I have a parrot who talks a lot, but Falco doesn’t really seem to care about him. I also have a Bernedoodle puppy but they haven’t hung out with each other a whole yet since he’s still a puppy so I’ve been waiting for a little.”

Are there any fun facts or quirks that you want people to know about Falco?

“He’s very quiet for a police dog. Also, he likes when dad fills his water bowl because when dad leaves the room, he knocks it over every time.”