The Prescott Valley Police Department in 2018 was able to welcome four new K9s thanks to a generous donation from community members. The donation came right on time, as PVPD recently retired three K9s – Jake, Turco and Toyo – all who are now living comfortably with K9 officers.
Because longtime K9 Officer Paul Hines, an NPCA (National Police Canine Association) trainer, has family connections with the Netherlands, he was able to travel in 2018 to Rotterdam, South Holland, to personally choose and purchase three K9s. While there, he also happened on a 6-month-old Belgian Malinois pup that immediately impressed him with its intelligence and drive. After calls home to gain approval from the donors and PVPD command staff for the purchase, “Groot” joined the other three new K9s traveling home to Arizona.
Hines selected the dogs with an eye to each of PVPD’s K9 officers’ abilities and experience. The officers didn’t know until the dogs arrived in Arizona which one they would get.
Officer Caleb Cozens, an experienced PANT (Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking) and patrol officer who previously handled narcotics Labrador Toyo, is now partnered with Chewy. Chewy has excelled on interdiction patrols and in the community. He has excellent tracking and article search skills. Hines said Chewy has shown outstanding bite work and “phenomenal” building/area search skills. The social Chewy, Hines added, reminds him of his first K9, Joey.
K9 Kion, partnered with Officer Layton Cooper, who previously handled K9 Jake, has an amazing gift for tracking, Hines said. The dog is easy going and social, and a bit smaller than his teammates. Kion has done well on patrol, with several drug arrests and assistance on Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office details.
Hines was excited to pair Kato, the youngest and “rawest” of the new dogs, with new K9 Officer Justin Ellison. When he put the two together, Hines said “In two years, that will be a team hard to beat.” Kato and Ellison are ahead of the game, and proud to have a 52-lb. meth bust under their belt. “Kato loves Ellison, and he just wants to please,” Hines said.
K9 Groot, the youngest of the pack, is no longer a puppy. He’s growing into a powerful K9 crime fighting machine with a mind of his own. “He has real tenacity,” Hines said. “When he wants something he’s hard to stop.” Hines said Groot is the hardest dog he’s ever trained, because he is absolutely fearless and unwavering, no matter what is thrown at him. A bonus is that Groot is “super social” great with kids and other animals. For his age, Groot’s bite work is outstanding, Hines said.
All of the K9s are fully certified in narcotics and patrol. The four-dog division now allows Prescott Valley to have a K9 unit available seven days a week, 16 hours each day. All of the dogs and their handlers are on standby if needed. The K9s also will be coordinated with the SWAT team, where they can work perimeters of a scene, and if needed, enter a building on command ahead of the SWAT team and locate a person, such as in a barricade incident.
Prescott Valley’s K9s work drug interdiction details on major interstates such as I17 and I40, with great success as evidenced by several recent large drug busts. But Hines is more drawn to working with the dogs in the local community to take drugs and habitual criminals off the streets. “Then, the crime associated with those people also goes away,” he said.
Please watch the Prescott Valley Police K9 Facebook page for updates on this outstanding Unit.