Duke will allow 24/7 K-9 coverage throughout county
By MITCHELL WHITE, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
2018-11-05 15:48:51 GMT
His handler is Deputy Brian Scott, an 11-year veteran of the sheriff's office who formerly served as a detective in the sheriff's major crimes bureau.
During a meet-and-greet event Thursday at Tucker's Grove Park, Deputy Scott and his new companion went through a demonstration. Deputy Scott gave Duke commands to stay, heal, sit and lie down — all delivered in German.
"We're early in our relationship, but I think we're progressing well," Deputy Scott said.
Duke and Deputy Scott recently graduated from patrol school where they completed 200 hours of training. Duke is trained in human scent detection, open area building searches, handler protection and apprehension. He will eventually be trained in bomb detection and hard surface tracking, Deputy Scott said.
The pair will be stationed in North County but will be available to respond to calls countywide. Duke's official first day was Oct. 22 but he has yet to be deployed on an official call for service, Deputy Scott said.
Duke was purchased through funding provided by the Sheriff's Benevolent Posse's Project Deputy Dog program. The group's campaign raised more than $100,000 to add a fourth K-9 team to the sheriff's office. The cost includes the dog's purchase, training costs for Duke and his handler, and the purchase of a patrol car and equipment, said Kelly Hoover, sheriff's spokeswoman.
The sheriff's office K-9 team consists now of four patrol K-9s and a jail narcotics K-9. The posse is currently raising funds to replace 7-year-old German shepherd Aco, who is nearing retirement.
Reece and Christine Duca, of Carpinteria, were the largest donors for the purchase and had the honor of naming Duke.
Ms. Duca told the News-Press the name is a term of endearment she uses for her husband.
In February 2017, the Duca family learned first-hand just how important the K-9s are for the sheriff's office.
Following a vehicle pursuit, two wanted suspects were located by a K-9 under the Ducas' back porch at their home off Padaro Lane in Carpinteria.
The family owns three dogs, a Labradoodle, flat-coated retriever and an Australian shepherd. The trio is anything but quiet when someone is on their property, but when the K-9 Magnum arrived the dogs were completely silent, Mr. Duca said.
"Literally it was like General Patton had arrived and everybody else stepped back," he recalled.
"It's the symbiosis between what the dogs can do and what the dog's partner can do that resulted in the apprehension," Mr. Duca added.
The next day, the couple wanted to thank the sheriff's office and eventually got in contact with the Benevolent Posse.
"This is just being able to assist, not just for us, but really for all the people in the South Coast who benefit from this incredible resource," Mr. Duca said.
The new addition will allow 24/7 K-9 coverage for the county, according to the sheriff's office.
Those interested in learning more about the Sheriff's Benevolent Posse can visit www.sbsheriffsposse.org.
After going through a demonstration Thursday afternoon at Tucker's Grove Park in Goleta, Duke is rewarded with his toy by Deputy Brian Scott.
From left, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse President Richard Kline, sheriff's Deputy Brian Scott, Duke, and Reece and Christine Duca, of Carpinteria, who were the biggest donors for the purchase of Duke.