K9 Spotlight: Lt. Roca & K9 Canto

As told by Lieutenant Roca

K9s are a good vehicle for public relations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the street just doing a walking patrol, and somebody that maybe doesn’t like the police opens up and says, “Hey, that’s a good looking dog!” And that can be a bridge to talk to somebody and say, hey, you know what, we’re human—you’re human.

I was leaving a day shift last week—I’m walking out of our 10th street patrol station, and I see a father and a little girl walking down the street. I turned my head and I said, “How are you doing?” I didn’t have Canto with me at the time, but he saw that my car was a dog car and he said, “Hey, do you have the dog in there?” I said, “Yeah, would you like to meet him?” The little girl was probably about 4 years old, and I bring Canto out, and her eyes light up. That’s a good feeling, because kids have to learn and understand that the police are not the enemy. We’re here to help; we’re here to maintain the peace, and part of that is being able to show the children that we’re also your friends. The man turned out to be her stepfather, and he explained to me that this little girl’s father always says that the police are the enemy. He said, “I’m trying to show her that they’re not, and you just did an outstanding job of demonstrating that.” I was pleased that Canto was able to show that.