By Paul Gonzalez, News-Press Staff Writer
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office's newest recruit will be tasked with sniffing out illegal drugs at the County Jail.
According to a Sheriff's Office News Release 14-month old Krypto, a high energy black Labrador, started his new assignment with the Jail K-9 Narcotics Team this week alongside his handler, four year veteran Custody Deputy Ian Ur.
The team was formed to reduce issues related to the sale, distribution and use of drugs in the jail.
Krypto's purchase was funded by a grant from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Benevolent Posse's Project Deputy Dog program.
The Sheriff's Benevolent Posse is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation comprised of non-law enforcement volunteers throughout the county who donate time and money to assist the Sheriff's Office with needs not funded by the county budget.
The posse noticed a need at the jail for an additional narcotics K-9 unit in early 2017 and started its deputy dog project shortly thereafter.
"Having a dedicated narcotics K-9 team is an efficient and effective way to help eliminate drugs from the facility which as a result creates a safer environment for both inmates and staff as well reduces criminal activity both inside and outside the facility. As a dog lover, this is an easy program to support," said Sheriff's Benevolent Posse board member Susan Pohls in a statement.
Krypto was born on April 5, 2017 in an eight-puppy litter. He was named after Superman's faithful sidekick because of his confidence and drive as a puppy.
Krypto is trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine. He is also certified in building, car and open area searches.
He received his initial training at the Inglis Police Academy in Oxnard where he demonstrated a natural aptitude for detection work.
"His focus on hide and seek was amazing from the first time we threw his toy into a pile of laundry, he launched into it head first and came out with the toy in his mouth and a sock on his head. He was so proud. I knew nothing would stop him from his goal," said Krypto's trainer Daniel Inglis.
Custody Deputy Ur said he is honored to have been selected as Krypto's handler and noted that the dog has already shown great promise as a jailhouse detective.
"Krypto was brought into the jail for a trial run at the beginning of this year to see how he could manage the environment. He loved it," said Custody Deputy Ur.
"He is so high energy and motivated to work. I just hope I can keep up with him."
The duo will also work at the Northern Branch Jail when it opens in summer 2019.
Sheriff's Benevolent Posse President Richard S. Kline says Krypto is an investment that will both cut costs and keep both deputies and inmates safe at the jail.
"Without Krypto custody deputies would have to go back and do these (drug) searches by hand which is not only tedious but potentially dangerous as well," said Mr. Kline.
"His speed and enthusiasm for finding things makes him a valuable asset and at only 14 months old he has a long career ahead of him."
The Project Deputy Dog Program is in the process of raising money for another patrol K-9 unit. So far they are $30,000 short. To support the Project Deputy Dog program visit www.sbsheriffsposse.org.