Mt. Shasta PD to bring back K9 program

 MT. SHASTA, Calif. — K9 programs can be a major help to police departments, but it’s not something agencies are required to keep when budgets get tight. That’s what caused one northern California department to shut down its program—until now.

After being gone for almost two decades, the K9 program is finally back at the Mt. Shasta Police Department, after a funny video on social media.

“I will release the canine if you don’t show your hands,” the bodycam footage showed of an MSPD officer talking to a suspect. The video continues with the officer walking back to the police car, then transitioning to the officer opening the car door to a pug jumping out of the back. Fast forward a few months, the video is now one of the reasons MSPD is bringing back its K9 program.

“A lot of this came out of the social media post with the little pug,” said MSPD Lt. Joe Restine. “The Facebook post got a lot of views and a lot of attention,” Restine said he was just starting out when the department had its last K9. “It was reaching the end of its career and the handler was moving on to another agency,” he said. “We didn’t have an officer who would be able to take on an old dog at the time.”

Lt. Restine said the department has a history of hiring problems because of wages, so staffing the officers themselves took priority. “Most of the funding for K9 programs is privately funded,” Lt. Restine said.

After nearly 400 interactions on Facebook, MSPD was contacted by the Arthur R. Dubs foundation in Medford this summer. “They asked us why not have a real K9” Lt. Restine said, “and they were willing to come up with a generous portion of the funding for that.”

Restine said many people didn’t even know the agency didn’t have a K9 program, but bringing it back will be a huge help to the entire team. “Having this animal on gives us one more opportunity to not use lethal force,” he said.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content