Keeping up with the K9s (and their partners)

Thanks to their devoted handlers, and support from the community, the Douglas County Sheriff's seven K9 officers are living like the alpha dogs they are.

The dogs have their own Facebook page and, as of Friday, a fan base of nearly 140 members.

Deputy David Stanley, who oversees the K9 patrol, said he created the Facebook page to inform the community about the important work of the dogs and their partners.

With budget concerns, the officers want the public to know how much they depend on their support and the time that goes into training and caring for the canines.

Capt. David Aymami, who supervises the patrol division, said he had to tell the deputies last year he had to cut 25 percent of the time they were being paid for training with the K9 officers.

"They did the training anyway, on their own time," Aymami said.

Conceding he lacked the experience for K9 training, Aymami turned the unit over to Stanley.

"He does such a good job," Aymami said. "He's really improved the canine unit."

Stanley put a lot of time in the Facebook page hoping to clear up myths he says the community has about the dogs. One of the biggest myths is that the dogs are "landsharks."

"Their primary purpose is not to bite," he said. "They are a locating tool. They are there to find things and are not aggressive."

Stanley also called the dogs "force multipliers."

"One dog can equal 15-20 deputies, depending on what they're doing. Thanks to them, we can have a whole lot less injuries," he said.

The sheriff's office hopes to add another dog to the seven active teams and one reserve.

"We need money to get another dog," Stanley said.

Dogs can cost $10,000-$15,000 which may not include training.

"Every dog has its own traits which it has to have before we start training," he said. "All alpha dogs want to be in charge."

Stanley said dogs are selected based on many factors including temperament.

"All of our dogs are social. They all live at home with their handlers and their families. To expect a handler to try to work as a team with a dog that is out of control and trying to bite everything is irresponsible and unethical," he said.

"We want our dogs to be social. These dogs do what they do because they are well trained, not because they are vicious. These dogs belong to the community, and we want the team to be an asset, not a liability," Stanley said.

Investigator Brian Johnson's dog Mack - new to the unit - is a transplant. The Belgium malinois was losing his job with a Texas law enforcement agency due to budget cuts when he was acquired by Douglas County.

In his first few days with Johnson, Mack alerted on a pound of methamphetamine while working with a federal agency in Carson City.

Johnson estimated the methamphetamine to be worth $15,000.

"Mack is the first K9 officer for the Street Enforcement Team," Johnson said. "He will further enhance our abilities in our mission of drug enforcement."

"It was natural to place Mack with a 'go-getter' like Brian," Aymami said. "With a guy who loves what he does as much as Brian, Mack will help him work a little harder."

Deputy Ignacio Gonzalez works at Douglas County Jail with Iceman.

"He's prevented a lot of narcotics from being brought into the jail," Gonzalez said.

Aymami said the K9 teams depend on community support.

"If it wasn't for the community, there would be no canine unit," he said.

On May 27, the Coyote Grill in Round Hill Shopping Center is holding a fundraiser to support the K9 unit.

Members of the unit and their partners will be at the restaurant, 212 Elks Point Road, from 5-10 p.m. A portion of the food and beverage sales will go toward supporting the unit.

The dogs and their handlers also will be putting on a demonstration at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Minden Park for Leadership Douglas County.

The K9 unit started 20 years ago with the Douglas County School District raising funds to purchase two dogs for drug detection and deterrent in the school system.

"The unit has grown over the years through the generosity of the local community," Stanley said. "The K9 unit is fully supported by the sheriff, but is funded solely through donations from the community to purchase canines, equipment and training for the handlers. It is only through the generosity of the community that we have been able to increase our unit."


Deputy David Stanley, Hondo, German shepherd, dog patrol, tracking, narcotic detection

Deputy Scott Battcher, Rony, German shepherd, dog patrol, tracking

Deputy John George, Akiva, German shepherd, dog patrol, tracking, narcotic detection training

Deputy Rick Koontz, Scout, golden retriever, narcotic detection

Investigator Brian Johnson, Mack, Belgian malinois, narcotic detection

Deputy Ryan Grant, Chief, Belgian malinois, narcotic detection

Deputy Ignacio Gonzalez, Iceman, German shepherd, narcotic detection, tracking training

Reserve Deputy Al Trimarchi, Echo, German shepherd, blood, firearms detection


Coyote Grill is hosting a fundraiser 5-10 p.m., May 27 at the restaurant in the Round Hill Shopping Center in Zephyr Cove. All-you-can-eat chili for $1 per person plus regular food and drink items will be served with part of the proceeds going to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office K9 unit. Members of the K9 unit and their partners will be in attendance.

For information about the unit or to make donations, contact Deputy David Stanley, 782-9935 or e-mail


Douglas County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit


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