Napa Police Department's Canines
The Napa Police Department Canine (K9) Unit is comprised of two teams: Officer Kyle Upchurch and his Dutch Shepard, "Ringo", and Officer Michael Moore and his German Shepard, "Bes". Both dogs were imported from Europe and have had extensive training in the areas of handler protection, suspect apprehension, building and area searches, evidence searches, tracking in both urban and rural environments, obedience, narcotic detection, and public relation demonstrations. They are certified by California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) yearly in Patrol work and Narcotics work.
Safety around our Canines
If you happen upon one of our K9 cars, they are distinctively marked with "K-9 Unit" on both sides and "POLICE DOG KEEP BACK" on rear window. Do not stare into the windows or touch the patrol car. The police dogs consider these cars their homes and can be protective. They have been trained to bark when someone approaches the car. As with any dog you see, NEVER approach or try to pet the dog without first asking permission from the handler. Our dogs are sociable and friendly and enjoy meeting new friends, but are working dogs, not pets. The handler needs to tell them when they are allowed to relax and be petted.
If you see a dog you suspect is a police dog loose and do not see their handler nearby, do not make sudden moves or shout out. If the dog runs up to you, hold still and let the dog pass by.
A little Napa PD K9 History
The use of canines now is a normal facet of most municipal law enforcement agencies in the US, however times were different in 1977. The use of canines in Napa County was pioneered by Napa Police Officer John O’Donnell. The first canine was a German Shepard named November, named “Vem”. Tragically, the NPD’s first canine officer would only patrol the streets for thirteen months. In June 1979 Vem was fatally stabbed while helping subdue a suspect who had been vandalizing vehicles in the Laurel Woods Apartments. At the time the penalty for killing a police canine was a misdemeanor. A “blue flu” occurred when the Judge released the suspect, Harry Reese, on his own recognizance.
Ultimately Reese only served a fifteen day sentence. The incident resulted in a groundswell of support from the community; letters and donations were received from all over the country. Money received was donated to the SPCA, to start an immunization program. In 1981 the K-9 unit was expanded to two dogs, and continues at that level today. Ultimately, the NPD may expand their unit to four dogs, which would allow a K-9 to be assigned to each of the swing and graveyard shifts.
Some of the past Napa Police Canine Teams
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Napa Police Department
1539 1st Street
Napa, CA 94559-2840
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