Canine Unit

Program History

The Placentia Police Department's Canine ("K-9") program began in 1988 with the acquisition of our first police service dog, Nanto. Over the years, the department has deployed a total of nine outstanding police dogs. Our first three dogs, Nanto, Marko, and Jack were German Shepherds. Our next three dogs, Castor, Storm, and Falkon were Belgian Malinois. The Department currently has two dogs on duty. 


The primary responsibility of the Canine Unit is to search, locate, and assist in the apprehension of felony criminal offenders. A secondary responsibility is to assist in the search and detection of illegal drugs. This cross-training contributes to:

  • Decreased time needed to complete assigned tasks
  • Elevated levels of field safety for officers
  • Increased effectiveness for specific tasks

Creating a Team Effort

The Canine Unit consists of three uniformed officers and three police service dogs overseen by a sergeant coordinator. This patrol-based team employs a variety of task-specific equipment. This equipment includes specially constructed patrol cars equipped to accommodate the police dogs while "in-service." This patrol car is specifically marked with emblems identifying it as a "K-9" vehicle.

It is easy to think of the dog when referring to the K-9 unit, however, the dog is just one-half of the team. The true success of the team is highly dependent on the skill, knowledge, and commitment of the K-9 handler.

Being a K-9 officer is very demanding. The team is required to participate in monthly and weekly training sessions to maintain peak performance.