By Krystina Pedersen |Staff Writer|
CSUSB is bringing campus safety to a whole new level by adding a K-9 to the university’s police department.
Chevy, a 2-year-old 80-pound German shepherd, was brought to CSUSB from Little Rock, Arkansas through grants, private donations and fundraisers held by the women’s cross country team.
Chevy is not your stereotypical attack dog that is trained to bite on command; he is in the process of being trained to detect explosives and ammunition.
“Campuses are a target for terrorist threats; by having Chevy who specializes in detecting explosives and ammunition, we increase campus safety,” said officer Helen Skaggss.
Skaggs is not only Chevy’s commander but also his trainer. The pair have been working together for approximately three months now. Skaggs finds working with a K-9 over another officer to be “different and fun but all seen as working with a partner.”
Every day ranging anywhere from 2 to 5 hours, the pair train vigorously at the Fontana Police Department’s K-9 facilities. A typical day of training consists of Chevy sniffing out different scents.
He is currently able to pick up on five to six scents but won’t be finished with his training until he identifies approximately 12 scents. Chevy also has to pass a certification test issued by the state of California, until then Chevy is unable to be sent out on calls.
When Chevy detects a scent he sits in front of it, that’s his signal to Skaggs that he has detected something. When Chevy obeys commands he is rewarded with a toy.
To Chevy finding explosives is a game, in his mind all he is concerned about is finding these scents so he can be given his toy.
When asked if Chevy is on any special diet for his training, Skaggs laughed and stated that no he is not.
However Chevy is very picky when it comes to his food; he’s already gone through five different brands before he finally found a brand he likes.
After a long day on duty or at training Chevy resides in Skaggs’s backyard running around rolling in the grass and playing with Skaggs’s two young sons.
Skaggs describes Chevy’s personality at home to be more domesticated. At home he is more at ease and there’s more of a playful atmosphere.
Chevy definitely knows his role when he is on duty. He is more protective of the unit and his kennel.
Chevy is the first K-9 to ever be a part of our campus’s police force, and CSUSB continues to look for ways to fund Chevy who cost approximately $10,500.
Skaggs hinted we may see fundraisers such as pancake breakfasts hosted by the Criminal Justice Club in the future. But she still remains on the lookout for more opportunities to raise money for Chevy.