Belgian Malinois Kingsley officially began duty as a police K9 for the Tustin Police Department on Wednesday, March 8.
“He’s doing great; he’s raring to go,” said Kingsley’s handler, Tustin PD Officer Chuck Mitchell.
Though it was a relatively slow night for the pair, they did get a couple of alarm calls that first shift. They cleared one of the buildings they responded to because the door was open, but no one was inside.
“We’re both kind of easing into it,” Mitchell said of their new job.
TPD’s two K9 teams play an important role for the agency in responding to building and residential alarm calls. Normally, two officers are sent out to such calls, but having a K9 and officer respond to the call instead means the patrol officers can remain available to handle other calls or address other issues in the city.
“We can essentially do the job in half the time and half the man hours,” said Mitchell. “That saves a ton of time.”
Mitchell also will respond to calls and serve as a backup for other officers on the night shift. Some of these calls, like family disturbances, don’t necessarily require a K9, so in these cases Kingsley would wait patiently in the patrol car.
Since picking out Kingsley at Adlerhorst International, Inc. in Riverside on Jan. 19, Mitchell has gotten to know his dog’s calm demeanor. But he’s also seen him in action during the various training scenarios throughout their six weeks at Adlerhorst’s K9 handler academy.
“He’s 100-percent ready to go,” said Mitchell. “When it’s time to roll, he’s definitely on.”
At home, Mitchell’s family already has grown attached to Kingsley.
“My wife completely adores him,” he said, adding that his two teenagers do, too.
Though his 7-year-old Chihuahua, Tucker, might be another story.
“Tucker essentially ignores him,” Mitchell said.
The rest of their first week on duty involved regular patrol, alarm calls and a short demo with a local homeowner’s association. Mitchell filled the group in on Kingsley’s background and training. Kingsley left with a gift bag full of dog treats.
As they ease into their schedule and duties, Mitchell looks forward to putting all the knowledge he gained at the K9 academy into action.
“You essentially take him and train him to become a police dog,” he said.
He added: “I think we fit really well together.”