The Merced County Sheriff’s Department earlier this month received additional protective and trauma equipment and training for its K-9 unit at a seminar in Elk Grove.
“We received the equipment and training, which is valued at approximately $5,000 or more, for free,” Deputy Delray Shelton explained.
The department will receive two bullet-resistant vests for dogs and medical equipment that can help deputies administer CPR and treat injuries, including gunshot wounds, that may be suffered by dogs and deputies in the line of duty.
“The ballistic vests alone can run several thousands of dollars,” Shelton said. “It’s a tremendous benefit to the county.”
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The sheriff’s department has seven canines and has been involved in the program for many years.
The K-9 Emergency Medicine Seminar was held Nov. 6 at Elk Grove Regional Park. The event was hosted by the Police and Working K-9 Foundation, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization.
Deputies received emergency wound management training and instructions on how to properly use the equipment provided.
Shelton said investment in the K9 program, which can be pricey initially, saves the county thousands of dollars in time and manpower costs.
Shelton recounted a story from several years ago in which a newly-purchased dog was used in a drug search and found more than $360,000 in hidden narcotics that likely would not have been located without the canine.
“The community gets a lot of value out of having the program,” Shelton said.