Posted by Sharon Schendel on Mar 10, 2018
Back row (left to right): K9 Officer Jonathan Wiese, Kristen Amicone, Scott Holslag, Nate Whann, Tracey Williams Trevor Phillips; Front row: Cooper and Paul Chunyk

Officer Tracey Williams of the Northwestern Division of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) was joined by four other SDPD officers, including K9 Officer Scott Wiese and SDPD Community Relations Officer Trevor Phillips, as well as Kristen Amicone, Director of Education and Technology for the San Diego Police Foundation, at our March 8 meeting.  Del Mar is part of the Northwestern Division of SDPD that covers a 42 square mile region from Via del Valle to the north, Miramar to the south, and from the North Torrey Pines State Beach to the west and Del Sur to the East. Community Relations officers are good points of contact for small disputes or law-enforcement-related issues, and they can be reached by phone or email (see the Division website for details).

Jonathan Wiese, K9 officer, presented on the SDPD K9 division. The costs of the K9 unit are not part of the city’s budget, and thus are supported largely by private donations gathered by the San Diego Police Foundation. The dogs are imported from several European countries where sporting programs produce dogs (most commonly Belgian Malinois, German Shepherd, and Dutch Shepherd) that have initial training that provides a foundation for police work. Upon arriving in the States, the dogs are acclimated with their handlers and trained in nose work and “bite-hold” tactics.

Officer Nate Whann brought his dog, Gucci, a 5 year-old Belgian Malinois, who gave a demonstration of the bite hold technique using Officer Scott Hoslag as a mock criminal. Gucci showed the enthusiasm that these dogs have for their work- to the point of a bloodied tongue. However, most handlers never have to resort to letting their dogs bite, as many offenders surrender on seeing the dog, at which point the dog is taken away from the situation. Officer Wiese noted that the dogs are the only tactic in their arsenal that has a recall- a dog can always be called off, but a bullet or Taser can never be unfired. After the dogs retire, their handlers often adopt them to live with their families as pets.

Kristen Amicone spoke briefly about the work that the San Diego Police Foundation does on behalf of SDPD officers, including securing donations to ensure that SDPD has a full K9 contingent. She invited us to attend the May 30 Friends of the Badge luncheon, which will show how SDPD officers serve their community and this year will feature an in-depth look at the SDPD Crime Lab.  The Foundation generously donated a tour of the K9 facilities that will auctioned at our Sunset Soiree.   

Thank you to Paul (and Cooper) Chunyk for arranging to have the officers present to our club.