In this episode Steve interviews a SoCal K9 handler by the name of Paul. He is still active in law enforcement so we just go by his first name. In fact, the interview takes place while Paul is on duty so please excuse the interruption! Steve and Paul discuss K9 work, bizarre calls, and the media.
this is things police see first-handaccounts with your host Steve goldhey guys welcome to the podcast welcometo episode number 11 in this podcast Ichat with a k-9 officer that you’ll knowas Paul we’re not gonna give his lastname he’s an active police officer onthe job right now in Southern Californiawe kind of just go by his first name andhe describes to you the area and thebasic demographics of the area that he’spolicing just to protect him because heis active out there doing the work so itwas a really fun interview we actuallydid it while he was on duty over Skypeso there is at one point a call comes inhe has to run to the call and then hegives me a call back and we finish up sothere’s a really great interview I wasreally happy to have them on I thinkyou’re really gonna enjoy itthe podcast has been doing really well Iknow I keep saying that but it justkeeps doing better and better you knowit’s not like this like a huge hit yetbut it is gaining steam in that it’strending upwards so I thank you all forthat and I’m getting questions now whichis really awesome so keep them coming ifyou have suggestions any questions forme or for a guest or if you want to be aguest on the show just contact me atthings police C at gmail.com and I willanswer that email promptly so withoutfurther ado here is episode 11 Paulthank you for coming on the podcast Ireally appreciate it manOh anytime my pleasure excited to haveyou on you and I work together at ahigh-end security gig once in a while -where I met you and you’re actually anactive police officer in SouthernCalifornia really cool to have you onbecause usually I’ve had a few otheractive people on not from Californiathey’re all the California guys I’ve hadon are retired so having you on whileyou’re still on the job is really cooland this is a first for the podcast alsoyou’re actually on duty right now sowe’re gonna try to try to have nointerruptions but there’s no guaranteefor that right right so you work for asmall city or medium sized city inSouthern California just outside of likethe Los Angeles area would you saythat’s rightyeah it’s about 50 miles east of LosAngeles and what we known as what wecall the Inland Empire area so it’s aheavily populated area back up through alot of citiesthe majority of crimes that occur out inthe city it is a high crime volume areathe low that is very low-income and someof the cities my city being one of themso the demographics are predominantlyHispanic for culture faces purposes andI would say the city’s got maybe 65,000with about 60 officers okaywell I’m like like most of these placesoutside of uh people back home where I’mfrom the East Coast don’t understand howgigantic it is out here and how how bigthe populations are but Los AngelesCounty is surrounded by a bunch of othercities like that size that are that areright you know their cities are nottowns there’s 65,000 people so it justgoes out for miles and miles and you areyour main function where you Patrol isk-9 officer yes I’ve been a k-9 officersince 2006 okay and I think he told meonce before you you started in theairforce when did start in the airforceand I worked military working dogs andthen wanted to pursue that into thecivilian law enforcement totally twodifferent entities but k9 seems to bethe passion where I’m at and I think I’mgonna try to make it a career andhopefully I can retire as a caninethat’s awesome man that’s really cool Imean that is definitely a specialty youhave to love right that’s that’s a lotof work yet maintaining that animal allthe time and everybody’s back home todick k9 then they’re like yeah it’s it’sit’s great you’re involved in a lot butyou know it’s pouring rain out or snowor 115 degrees and dog needs to go outyou need to go with it you need to carefor it you need to go on vacation youhave to have someone you know a lot oftimes hide drugs for it so that’s myhat’s off to you man it’s a little workyes it’s definitely it’s a full-time jobbut the one thing I do like about k9they’re always learning just when youthink you’ve mastered something your dogis teaching you a new thing so to meit’s a learning process as well as ateaching process I think the best waydescribe of being handler is apartnership I’m learning my dog waslearning together we’re working togetherto accomplish a task so to me it’s everydog that’s been different and I’mconstantly I guess staying on my toesand and learning and and that’s what Ilike about k9 can I let me run this byyouum because I heard this once and I don’tremember where but is it true that thecanines like when they’re tracking ahuman the that your skin is always likecascading off the human body and makinglittle piles like if you stand in oneplace just can piles up more and then ifyou walk someplace you’re just kind ofdropping skin cells is that what theysmell when they track I’ll be honestwith you I mean to me that’s a littletoo technical when it comes to thescientific part of it III know that wedo leave human odor behind and the dogcan’t pick up the scent of the humanodor some dogs are a lot better you knowsearching after say it’s the bestsuspect takes away or it takes off fromus some dogs can track a lot longer thanother dogs it just depends on theenvironment where the person walkedacross how the dog is going to pick itup but in an urban environment like thisit’s really hard to get that just oneodor that we’re looking for whereasmaybe back east if someone goes througha wooded area that’s going to be theonly odor out there that the dog istracking so I think they have a bettersuccess rate when it comes to trackinghere in the urban environment is there’speople walking if I have my dog outpeople are coming out of apartment fromanother house it’s really hard so willwe kind of like to do out here it’s notso much a tracking it’s wind sendingjust trying to pick up the odor thatwe’re looking for oh wow that’sinteresting yeah definitely back whereI’m from where it’s more rural like oneof the towns I police next to even had abloodhound you know you just only thingyou did was track find lost kids andelderly people and stuff like that andhe just you know there was no there wasno risk of him biting or anything hewould just lick we pray you know when hefound them in the Bloodhound you know itis making an impact in Californiamany agencies are using thembut what we kind of use our patrol dogsfor just because of the environment is alot of yard to yard stuff because if asuspect does flee from us the likelihoodof him jumping in the yard to yard so wehave these we have concrete wallsbarriers fences everything so a lot ofit is just perimeter tainment andsearching yard yard or property toproperty with the dog because we have alot of ops that goes out here justbecause of the environment yeah it mustbe so much work I mean that’s one thingI noticed when we moved hereyear-and-a-half ago is the propertieshere doesn’t matter where you go there’sthere’s fencing there’s there’s fencingfor every square inch of property backback east it’s pretty much what people’sland is kind of runs into each otherhere it’s like you said anyone walksanyonethey get a dispatch man to a call sookay so Paul had to take off like wethought might happen we’re about sevenminutes in so we’re going to give himtime to go to that call I’ll be onstandby and we’ll pick up where we leftoff Paul you’re backyes all right hope you can get toosweaty out there so what we were talkingabout you were talking about fencedproperties and I was just kind of sayingthat’s a huge thing I noticed out hereand didn’t I’ve never really thoughtabout when it came to canine work iseverybody in California SouthernCalifornia has their property likebarricaded completely right you know orneighborhoods everybody has it right itdoes it creates an obstacle Kennedy dogsstill do its job effectively yes we tryto train through that absolutely butwhen it comes for at least the patroldog side not every dog every handler isdifferent how he trains his dog but atleast with me I felt that we use more ofa win setting and perimeter containmentto locate a suspect if things arerequiring more of a specialty we willrequest the Bloodhound stuff like thatokaycool so there is no penalty for themright all right Paul I’m gonna ask youthe first question I have here for youcan you tell us about the first hot callthat you responded to when you were ayounger officer the first call thatreally got your your blood going and youwere like whoa this is for realI want to fade it didn’t start when Iwas working for a police agency itactually started when I was a deputysheriff and the jailsI can remember I was maybe about threemonths on and I was working at one ofthe old jail systems where people wereactually taken from their units andbrought into a mess hall or a chow hallso we were you know bring bringing allthe inmates in and you probably hadabout 100 to 150 people within this oneroom andall of sudden without any hesitation afight broke out it was almost like itwas plan they knew what they were gonnado but it really taken me by surpriseand kind of woken my eyes up to what Imay be dealing with either if I stayedwith the Sheriff’s Department for comingout to the streets I mean it was purechaos violence everything luckily Iwasn’t attacked that I was able to pushmy way away and protect myself and theother deputy I was on the other room butthat was a big wake-up call to meI’m obviously you know I threw out my my17 year career I’ve been able to go onhot calls or think but that was the oneI mean I think was the wake-up call forme and happen very very short short endmy careeryeah those I mean because in thatscenario there’s only so many yards andyou’re they lock you in there right yeahthey start shutting the doors andeverything’s getting locked into you andthen you just kind of hold off yourselfuntil your backup arise either with lessless weak lethal options but talk aboutbeing very vulnerable and realizing thatyou know you have to protect yourselfthat was one of the things that reallyjust stood out to me in my career andever since then I think it’s shaped meas a police officer for self-protectionI can’t always rely on my tools becauseI didn’t really have any tools at thattime yeah right and that’s I mean that’switnessing something like that early inyour career – you get to see that thepropensity propensity of violence in asituation like that it’s crazy and likeyou said you’re locked in there I we hada little small booking room where wewhere I worked we booked all of our ownpeople you know we didn’t have bookingofficers and I hated the feeling ofbeing locked in there with just oneperson one suspect you know I can’timagine the feeling of having all themin there and kind of waiting for theCalvary to come and was this some howwhat gang started it was it a gang thingor obviously it was more of it was adivide between race who’s Hispanics andblacks fighting but it was you knoweverything probably has a gang ties injails but it was two races against onebecause the whites and Hispanics blinkedup together butit to me was just chaos I couldn’t writeI was a really paying attention to muchof what it was about or what was goingon I didn’t do any homework on my end tofind out what started all this I justyou know was more worried I was justdefending myself and just keeping peopleaway from me but like I said you knowluckily nothing happened to me I wasn’ttargeted me and the other deputy thatwere in there we were we walked out ofthat one very very thankful yeah I betwell can you describe the strangest ormost bizarre thing you dealt with themost bizarre thing I’ve dealt with in mymy career I want to say I got aapartment I got a call a house beingdestroyed by an individual I guess theygot some some of the neighbors werecalling that there was a subject insidetheir house breaking things destroyingthing loud music was playing so we getout there but when we arrived on sceneit’s very quiet all the lights are offin the house but every window was brokenout there’s a trail of blood that ledfrom the sidewalk drug pouring blood allthe way up into inside the residenceI push open the door the house iscompletely destroyed and there’s bloodeverywhere as I use my light to kind ofscanthe the living room area I noticed asubject sitting on top of an aquariumand almost like a fetal position coveredin blood and he had self mutilatedhimself to me was very bizarre this guyjust got destroyed he’s cut up he’s gotlacerations all over him and he’s stillstanding with the blank stare in my mindsomeone that just did that to themselvesis gonna be very hard to control so westarted getting you know paramedics onround got more officers there but whatshocked me the most was when my partnerand I actually had to go hands-on withthis person we were expecting afull-blown fight it was nothing he hecooperated didn’t say anything heallowed us to gently put hands handcuffson him and get him over to theparamedics gurney and loaded him up butto me that was very strange that isMinar whether it was drug-related orsomething we don’t know why heself-mutilating himself but he and asurviving and haven’t been back to thehouse since well and that’s weird tooit’s not like a repeat customer becauseit sounds like he was definitelyexercising the or they caught the demonsyou know right that’s that’s crazy howdid you said self mutilated what did hedohe had well I don’t know if thelacerations to himself were probablyfrom the breaking of the glass but hehad appeared like he had cut open hisinner thigh and taken one of histesticles off I wasn’t expecting thatyeah so I don’t know if he was trying tocastrate himself or whatnot but he hedefinitely he caused a lot of damage Ithink if we didn’t get him you know whatwe didn’t ride when we did even aprobably blood holy holy cow that isthat is not that’s totally not yeahobviously you double glove for that oneyes absolutelyWow all right can you tell me and thiscould be difficult it sounds like you’vegot a pretty spicy career so far but ifyou tell me the most like intense callor even terrifying call that you went onso farterrifying call you know it’s reallyhard for me to just pinpointsomething that just really shocked mymind I think I have worked in a veryactive City seeing a lot of things beenpresident on shootings homicidesloss or ball shootings so when it comesto terrifying I just I really can’tpinpoint something that just stands outin my mind I just I think I’ve notbecome numb to what I do on a dailybasis but I don’t really isolate certaincalls that I go on now I totally get itman because I googled that area thatyou’re policing in Adam it’s probablylike when you first start a first couplecall shock you or you’re like whoa okayand then it could be a real problem ifeverything was you know terrifying butyou went to you cuz you kind ofacclimate to that right you kind of likeall right it’s kind of like what we’reoperating at yeah I mean I’m sure youyou go to these calls all the time andthen you you’re I think here I believeyour is your wife a police officer aswell yes and so she’s not shocked bythem so then like once a while one ofthese stories might escape to someonewho’s not in law enforcement and they’relike what that’s absolutely right rightI mean and I think you know somethingthat seems somewhat normal to me may notbe normal to anybody else but the way Ilook at it it’s you know those hotterrifying calls I it’s it’s got to beon a daily basis you just you youbasically build up a tolerance to it youtrain yourself to how to deal with iteffectively and you kind of learn to letit go so you can go home and live anormal life right yeah absolutelylet me ask you another question herethat’s kind of all over the news rightnow literally question about the mediayou’re a guy that’s on the job right nowand you’re dealing with the backlash ofthe way the media reports and I mean themedia has always been kind of they’vealways kind of amplified things whenthey report on them but it seems likeeven more so in the last few yearsthey’re kind of just taking things andrunning with them throwing them outthere before they’re really doing anykind of investigative journalismthey’re just kind of throwing it outthere and not even really apologizinglater and I have to believe for someoneon the front lines like you that’sreally gotta affect your job in anegative way on a daily basis and Ithink that’s the biggest struggle that Ihave in law enforcementtill this day everything else I can dealwith the crimethe tragedy all that I can I can youknow there’s good things that also docome out of law enforcement by helpingpeople but the one thing that’s affectedme the most in law enforcement is howwe’re portrayed I do feel in lawenforcement we’re getting an unfairimage we’re definitely gettingcategorized into a few bad officers Iwould say that have made very poordecisions um and I’ve been month intothis so-called anti police corruptsociety that they think law enforcementis so it is very difficult to do my jobnowadays because everybody thinks you’recorrupt and I’m MSI and when I sayeverybody I don’t want to say everybodyit’s just it just seems like themajority of calls we handle nowadayswe’re not trusted so every time we starttrying to rebuild that bridge within thecommunity to get us this to trust us andwork together and show that you know weare normal people and we are here tohelp another incident may happen backeast or down south and guess what I’mpaying the price for that that officersactions and that’s it’s it’s almost likewe’re a gang mentality we’re all lumpedinto the one thing and I don’t think anyother profession gets to experience thatbecause when somebody else I get to talkto her messes up or a firefighter or anyother professional messes up theircounterparts are not affected truly byit right and you you’ll get shown thatthe next day about cop in Maryland thatshot someone or or whatever absolutelyand you know with the media reportingyou know I get I I think I think thosethings should be exposed to the publicwhen officers do messed up but it alsowe should be getting stuff to alsocombat those negative images like thegood stuff that we do and I and I reallydon’t think the medialikes to portray that side of us I meanthey you can see that you know if we dosomething good it may get like a quick30 second to a minute minute shot on onthe big screen you know or on the newsbut we do something negative and that’strailing us for years yeah absolutelyit’s like the like the stats say it’slike the 1 less than 1% of officers inthe country ever screw up or do anythingbad but that’s that’s what that’s thenarrative that’s what they run on isthat is that 1% and that it makes meterrible for you guys were out theredoing it right and you know I’ve had avery successful career you know neverbeen you know severely punished I’venever you know been discredited based onmy my decision-making I’ve done what Isupposed to do as a police officer butagain it doesn’t matter now that I wearthe uniform I Drive the car even if youknow you talk to somebody about yourprofession nowadays it’s just in modernsociety doesn’t seem like it’s an honorto respected profession however thereare a core group of people out therethat do support law enforcement knowsare the people I keep us goingI believe know the ones that actuallyjust come up to you and say you knowthank you or talk to you and treat youas a normal person that’s what keeps usgoing so it’s the small percentage ofthose people that are that are actuallyfro police in supporting us I think iswhat’s motivating officers to continuedoing the day and day job yeahabsolutelyand I remember you told me once and whenwe were working together I can ask youhow it was going and you said you knowit’s all right it’s just and this issuch a thought this is such a good pointyou said it it’s like some days are hardbecause no one wants anyone profilingracially or profiling at all and whatthe public has no problem with profilingthe police like they don’t they don’tmind throwing the show on your shoulderseverything every cops ever done rightthey don’t want that back the other wayrightyeah that and that that is everythingthat people are complaining that thepolice are doing it’s right back on usand you know I profiling is a verytouchy subject across the nation and nowwe want to touch base on that I just Ithink you know it from what I’ve learnedin California and the officers that I’veworked I don’t see profiling at all Ijust see officers responding to callsand doing a job and working in in theirdemographic area absolutely you know andCERN Demery you know a certainpopulation is primarily one thing that’swhat you’re going to be dealing yeah andI don’t know how that’s profiling ifanything they’re profiling crime andI’ve even seen some officers take a stepback now they didn’t won’t do anythingunless a crime has been committed sowhat we’re doing now it seems as maybethey’re creating a reactive police forceand I don’t know if that’s what societywants it benefits everybody I don’t knowit’s it’s just kind of up in air rightnow yeah cuz officers don’t wanna be bitby that and yeah like you were sayingit’s if you look at all the crime statsnot just the FBI but other studies havebeen done by universities police arelike you know 75 80 percent of timethey’re responding to the communitybecause the community called in that inthat neighborhood it’s not they’re notthere you know jumping on people forthese right they kind of you guys getkind of calledand now you get this pile of yougot to deal with and sort throughbecause it’s your dude someone calledfor help even if it’s a BS thingyou still got to stand there and see itthrough so that’s I can imagine itincredibly hey and one tool that’sactually helped me is the you knowlearning to explain things to people youknow it’s bad enough that people have tobe told what to do in an authoritativesetting if we’re out there trying toenforce something you know even you knowthe shouting matches and it’s hard tobreak through to get people to listenview at least make that attempt toexplain things to themI’ve brought people back and I’ve showednot people isn’tMeishan but show them that hey this is acall comments that I got on this is whatwas dispatch this is how it reads justso they have a fair understanding wayswell I’m coming why we responded the waywe did right you know a lot a lot ofpeople don’t understand that maybe it’sour job nowadays that educate peopleexplain people take the extra time tomake people understand what we’re doingwhy we’re doing and how we’re doing itthat’s a great moment and in its inputmost right that does it calms thingsdown you can you can get people toreason with you a little bit more itworks for meI don’t you know brushing it off or justsaying that’s how it is or you knowignoring it I don’t I think that itincreases rage in people yeahyeah it does absolutely and you a fewpeople have echoed that sentimentactually that I’ve interviewed beforethey said you know just take the time toexplain to people so they’re not youknow they don’t have that bad taste intheir mouth no that’s that’s great wellI really appreciate you being with us Iknow you’re on duty and your time isprecious but one more question for youdo you have any advice to young officersor or people who are looking intogetting into police work I’ll give youthe Vice that was given to me I comefrom a generation of law enforcement sothe same advice that my dad gave mebefore I heard this profession wasalways treat people fairly three peoplethe way you would want to be treated ifyou’re gonna work in a specificcommunity understand that communitybefore you go out there to enforce thatcommunity and I I think just doing theright thing continuing to I guess gothrough the Academy you got to do allthat stuff but the one of I said givethe people that are coming into it dothis job to help people rather than whatcomes with it you know whether it’s animage thing at the car you know whateverit is why people to go law enforcementjust make sure helping people is thenumber one priority and if you don’tlose train of that thought I think youcan be very successful careergreat advice Paulthank you so much for coming on man okaythank you it my pleasure