The Pacifica Police Department established a police canine unit in October 1984 with funds donated by the Rotary Club of Pacifica. The first canine, "Bar", was handled by Officer Dennis Barry. They worked together on the streets of Pacifica until March 1986 when Officer Barry was promoted to Corporal.
In June 1986, the second canine, "Cern" (Kern), and Officer Jim Saunders began working as a team. They continued patrolling until January 1990 when Officer Saunders was promoted to Sergeant.
The department's third canine, "Quindo", was handled by Officer Robert Londerville and started in May 1990. They continued as a team until February 1995 when Quindo died of a sudden illness.
The fourth canine, "Valk" (Falk), and Officer Dan Steidle began working in May 1995. In February of 2003 Valk retired and now lives with Dan Steidle and his family.
The fifth canine, "Lotos", and Officer Randy Malashus began working in August of 1998 after the Rotary Club of Pacifica again provided the funds for the purchase of Lotos, allowing the department to have two canines at once. Officer Malashus and Lotos worked together until 2002.
In 2003, two new canines began working for the department: "Tiger" (Teeger) and "Viko" (Veeko). They are handled by Corporal Duane Wachtelborn and Officer Scott Avilla, respectively.
In January 2011, after eight years of service, "Viko" was retired from the police department and in March 2012, after nine years of service, "Tiger" was retired from the police department, both due to medical reasons. "Tiger" continues to live with Sergeant Wachtelborn, while "Viko" continues to live with Officer Avilla.
In April 2011, the Rotary Club of Pacifica purchased another canine for the City of Pacifica. This Canine, "Janyk" (Yahnik) is partnered with Officer Cris Serrano. "Janyk" and Officer Serrano currently patrol the streets of Pacifica looking to take a "bite out of crime"
The Pacifica Police Department canine unit has been an important asset since its inception. The canine teams have been responsible for hundreds of arrests, many of which involved a canine locating hidden suspects who otherwise would have avoided detection if not for the keen nose and ears of a police dog.
Pacifica's police canines have been used to search for more than just people suspected of criminal activity. The dogs are used to locate missing children, some of the canines have been trained to detect narcotics, and all have been used in public relations demonstrations to the children of local schools and members of civic groups.
If your Pacifica group would like a canine demonstration, please call our main business line.