Orange County Police Canine Association annual dog show raises funds in support of local K9 teams

By Jessica Peralta

Not even the prospect of heavy rain kept people from coming out to support Orange County police K9s and officers.

Despite a downpour the night before and the possibility of rain at the annual Orange County Police Canine Association (OCPCA) show at Glover Stadium in Anaheim, not only did the show go on, but it was at nearly full capacity.

“That shows the public belief and support when it comes to the working dog, they understand how much work goes into it,” said Westminster Police Department Officer Travis Hartman, who joined the OCPCA board this year as secretary. He and his 7-year-old K9, Belgian Malinois/Dutch shepherd, Pako, also were part of the Oct. 13 show.

“It was neat to see even with all the rain and all the weather, we still had almost the entire [stadium] full,” said Hartman.

Police K9 handlers from a number of local and regional agencies walk onto the field with their canine partners at Anaheim’s Glover Stadium during the 30th annual Orange County Police Canine Association K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

 

MC’d by Anaheim PD K9 Officer and OCPCA President Brett Klevos, the event involves Orange County agency K9 units like Anaheim PD, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Westminster PD, among others. The K9 handlers perform entertaining skits and competitions with their dogs and members of the community.

Underlying the positive outreach, education and entertainment the show provides to the community is another important function: fundraising.

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies wave to the crowd from the department’s Duke 6 helicopter as it hovers just feet above the ground at the Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

The show raises funds for the OCPCA, which in turn uses 100 percent of that money for local K9s and handler expenses in caring for them, said Hartman. The nonprofit can assist in covering the medical expenses of retired police dogs, whose care is completely the responsibility of the handler after retirement. Also with these funds, the OCPCA is able to offer things like K9 handler training stipends.

“That money really goes back to Orange County K9 teams,” said Hartman.

Police K9 handlers from a number of local and regional agencies walk onto the field with their canine partners.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Expenses for police K9s are considerable, far above what a typical pet dog may cost. The K9s can sustain life-or-death types of injuries.

“We’re going in there saying my dog just took down a murder suspect … he stabbed my dog in the back,” Hartman said.

Hartman’s own K9, Pako, has recently been deploying more with West County SWAT, assisting with high-risk search warrants to help the team keep safe. K9s often help diffuse situations, but there is still a risk of injury for them.

A military Blackhawk helicopter hovers over Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Hartman said earlier this year, a suspect became violent with him, but Pako brought the situation quickly to a close.

“He got in a fight with me and then Pako finished it,” Hartman said. “Once Pako made contact, [the suspect] didn’t want to fight anymore.”

But sometimes the worst happens, and a K9 can get injured in the process. The OCPCA makes sure it is there to support handlers and their K9s in these situations, according to Hartman.

“If you have some crazy medical [expense for your dog], the membership can vote to assist you financially,” Hartman said. “Definitely something that is very helpful.”

A police Color Guard presents the flag during the National Anthem at the annual Orange County Police Canine Association K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Audience members stand and cover their hearts during the National Anthem.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Police K9 handlers from the Irvine, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach Police Departments present their African-themed skit, complete with police dogs with lion manes, during the 30th annual Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration at Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Police K9 handlers from a number of local and regional agencies walk onto the field with their canine partners.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Westminster Police Officer Travis Hartman and his K9 partner Pako, dressed as a shark, participate in a skit at the annual Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Westminster Police K9 Pako latches onto a “bad guy” during the annual demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

A police dog jumps on top of a car to chase down a “bad guy” in an Elvis costume during a skit by the California Highway Patrol.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Police K9 handlers from the Irvine, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach Police Departments present their African-themed skit, complete with police dogs with lion manes, during the 30th annual Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies wave to the crowd from the department’s Duke 6 helicopter as it hovers just feet above the ground.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Police K9 handlers from a number of local and regional agencies walk onto the field with their K9 partners.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

A military Blackhawk helicopter hovers over Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Anaheim police officers dressed as bandits enter Glover Stadium on horseback during their skit at the annual Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Westminster Police Officer Travis Hartman and his canine partner Pako, dressed as a shark, participate in a skit.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Audience members applaud the action on the field during the annual Orange County Police Canine Association K-9 Demonstration.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

A California Highway Patrol helicopter hovers near the ground at Anaheim’s Glover Stadium.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Police K9 handlers from the Irvine, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach Police Departments present their African-themed skit, complete with police dogs with lion manes.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies wave to the crowd from the department’s Duke 1 helicopter.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

A K9 handler and police dog participate in a skit during the 30th annual Orange County Police Canine Association’s K-9 Demonstration at Glover Stadium.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge

A military Blackhawk helicopter hovers over Glover Stadium in Anaheim.
Photo by Jeff Antenore/Behind the Badge