Fortuna's K-9 Unit Safe for Another Year
The latest round of budget cuts placed the Fortuna K-9 program in jeopardy. But thanks to community fundraising efforts, Zorro will be taking a bite out of crime for another year.
He may not have much bark but he’s not afraid to take a bite out of crime. And he does so with a budget of $25 to $30 thousand a year with a daily bonus of a rawhide treat. “It's been great, he's been my partner. I've worked with him for the last 6 years,” Sgt. Jason Kadle, his handler says.
Thanks to recent fundraising efforts, Zorro’s place in the Fortuna Police Department is secure for the next year. “He's the only police k-9 for the area from Fortuna… all the way down to the county line in Mendocino,” the Sergeant explains.
He’s the youngest on the force at 8 years old and has been with the department for 6 years. “Zorro’s awesome. He finds the criminals for us when they're hiding,” Police Officer Maxwell Soeth attests.
Officer Zorro is not only a tool for apprehending criminals, he is a member of this community. ”Having a dog on the force definitely helps bridge the gap between law enforcement and children,” Officer Soeth says, “they love dogs and zorro loves the kids.”
In his career Zorro has assisted in more than 300 incidents and has apprehended 10 suspects.
Although they’ve secured funding for another year, the Police Department will continue to raise money to ensure the K-9 Program has a long-term future.
“It's going to take another 15-thousand-dollars just to start up the program again with a new k-9,” Sgt. Kadle says.
But for now, Officer Zorro and Sergeant Jason Kadle will enjoy their partnership until the German shepherd’s retirement in 2 to 3 years… But playing golf is out of the question.
“No, he can't do that but he definitely likes to come to the park and play fetch,” the Sergeant replies.