Dogs first were used for police work at the turn of the 20th century in Belgium, and soon after in many other countries. Today in America police dogs are considered officers of the law and are given bullet-proof vests and badges.
Mike Pereda started with the Chino Valley Police Department early this year, and has been an officer since 2000 at the Prescott Valley Police Department and has had several years in K-9. Mike helped officer Randy Chapman establish the K-9 program in Chino Valley.
"This past summer I selected a new K-9 as my partner, his name is Gus, and he is a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois. They are an extremely high drive dog," said Mike.
"We usually start training the dog at just about two years old. The dog's play drive is what we focus into for training in narcotics, Gus and I have been going on narcotics training together to get him certified," Mike explained.
Mike shared that he has done a lot of different patrol functions through the years but prefers working narcotics.
"I think my niche is narcotics and having Gus as my extra tool in my tool bag gives me the advantage. My family is very supportive of me and my work. We have a strong faith and my wife knows I will handle things to the best of my ability and the rest is in God's hands," said Mike.
Mike was very pleased that YCCF (Yavapai County Community Foundation awarded Chino Valley Police Department a grant for K-9s in law enforcement, and also a donation from Ruger Sturm & Co. allowed the police to purchase Gus and equip a vehicle to work on patrol with the K-9.
"Officer Randy Chapman and his K-9 Gage deserve a lot of credit for all the work they've done in pioneering the program, I would really like to see a successful K-9 program keep growing in Chino Valley," he said.
Mike admits that he and Gus have a blast together.
"Gus and I are not just partners, we're friends. Imagine coming to work everyday and getting to play with your dog," Mike said with a grin.