The newest and youngest — and probably the most energetic — member of the Redding Police Department was put through his paces Wednesday at Lake Redding Park.
Yari, a 21-month-old German shepherd, was introduced to the community during a ceremony and demonstration that also helped to cast the spotlight on those who donated funds to purchase and train him.
He didn’t come cheap.
Police Chief Peter T. Hansen, who noted that the bill for Yari came to about $13,000, said the price for the
four-legged crime-fighter was paid entirely through community donations and at no cost to city taxpayers.
“Without the generous donations, the Redding Police Department would have had difficulty purchasing this new canine,” he said. “They (the donations) are deeply appreciated.”
The department continues to receive contributions from the community for the canine unit and the donations will be used for training, purchase of equipment, such as canine bulletproof vests, and potentially additional canines.
Yari, who joins three other police dogs in the department’s canine unit, is trained to assist with tracking, officer safety and the apprehension of dangerous suspects.
Hansen said Yari will also be trained to sniff out narcotics.
He replaces Moses, the department’s previous drug-detection dog, who has been retired from service, Hansen said.
He said that the working career of a police dog is six to seven years.
It’s not an easy — or inexpensive task — to obtain a police dog.
And, Hansen said, once the department determined there was a need to replace Moses, a process was also begun to select a handler with officer Jeff Schmidt chosen from a pool of candidates.
Schmidt, who was assigned to the unit in April and successfully completed a four-week patrol canine course with his rambunctious partner, said they work well together.
But, he said, both he and Yari, who was purchased from a trainer used by the department — Witmer-Tyson Imports of Menlo Park. — likes to take it easy when they are not on duty.
“He’s very relaxed at home,” said Schmidt. “He doesn’t work at home.”
In fact, he said, one would not think that he was a police dog in that environment.
“You would think that he’s just a house dog,” he said, adding that Yari likes nothing better than to take a dip in the backyard swimming pool.
And, he said, it’s his plan to keep Yari once his dog is retired from the force.
“I’ll keep him,” he said. “He’ll be mine until he passes away.”