4 Our Heroes: Probation K-9s Sniff Out Drugs and More - NBC Southern California
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4 Our Heroes: Probation K-9s Sniff Out Drugs and More

An energetic new team of investigators are taking a "bite" out of crime.

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    4 Our Heroes: Probation K-9s Sniff Out Drugs and More

    Two new K-9 investigators on the LA County Probation Department team help officials sniff out narcotics, illegal handguns and ammunition. Kathy Vara reports for NBC4 News on Friday, April 27, 2018. (Published Friday, April 27, 2018)

    An energetic new team of investigators are taking a "bite" out of crime.

    Chloe and Penny are the newest members of the Los Angeles County Probation Department. The canines, who can sniff out narcotics and ammunition, are already proving themselves invaluable.

    Chloe, a young springer spaniel, is an enthusiastic worker and specially trained to find narcotics.

    She's part of a new canine detection unit of the LA County Probation Department, put into operation last November.

    Together with the lab named Penny, the two sniff out and uncover narcotics, illegal handguns and ammunition. The elite dogs work with officers who go out on probation compliance checks.

    "A lot of these individuals were going after have extremely violent criminal histories," said John Perico, canine unit supervisor. "Everyone knows what their role is and what they are going to be doing."

    Once the all clear is given after an official knows on the door of the home, the dogs and handlers move in.

    "We will be looking for any sort of item that could violate their probation which includes narcotics, firearms," said Perico.

    A room that would take three officers 20 minutes to search, the dogs can do in under five minutes.

    "Their sense of smell is obviously 100 times better than our ability would be," said Perico

    Penny is trained to find weapons and ammunition and her skills are spot on. She alerted officers to a gun magazine at a probationer's home in North Hollywood...

    "The gun detection dog came across an AR-17 magazine that's loaded," said Perico. "They found additionally some gun cases and they found a large gun safe."

    The ammunition and firearms are collected as evidence and the man is taken into custody.

    "The probation officer is going to issue a violation report they are going to send it to the court," said Perico.

    Penny's handler Aldin Tatley has worked probation for 28 years and says working with the dogs has brought new life to his job.

    "It's nice to have a partner that's happy to see me every day, no matter what's going on," Tatley said.

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