Loud barks echoed though the empty parking lot.
“Tustin Police, let me see your hands!” shouted K9 Officer Taylor Ryan.
Tustin Police K9, Ragnar, was antsy to get to work.
As the agitator sprinted, 18-month-old Ragnar chased him, gliding through the air, and latching onto the acting suspect – dressed in a full-bite suit.
Suspect apprehension is just one of many important jobs K9s do while working at the Department.
“We assist with alarm calls, apprehending suspects, article searches, and helping find missing persons,” Ryan said.
The Tustin Police Department recently welcomed new K9, Azzurri, bringing the unit up to a total of three dogs.
Before starting their journey at the Department, the two Belgian Malinois’ came from Europe to undergo a six-week training process.
“They went through different scenarios like basic obedience,” said Azzurri’s partner, Officer Leah Barrett. “During that time, we got to know what their temperaments are like and observe how they’re going to react to different situations.”
Training doesn’t stop once K9s pass the six-week course. K9s and their partners continue to go through weekly and monthly training classes.
For the Tustin Police Department, the two new K9s decrease response time, manpower, and assist with officer safety, which makes them a valuable asset.
“Having another K9 partner in the street is great for the agency and especially for officer safety,” Barrett said. “The dogs can clear buildings in half the time we can and because we are a smaller department, we can use the dog, which takes only one officer out of the field versus two.”
The dogs additionally offer something to the Department that no officer can – their noses.
“They can find people or even objects just by using their noses.” Barrett said. “If somebody runs from us or the person discards a gun, we can utilize the dogs greatest asset – their nose. They use their nose to track down the suspect and search for the gun.”
Azzurri and Ragnar are adjusting to life as police K9s.
“My favorite thing about Ragnar is his ability to switch from work mode to home life,” Ryan said. “He’s great with our family dog, wife, and three-year-old son.”
“She’s a really good dog,” Barrett said about Azzurri. “She’s always looking out the window and she just loves to go to work.”