The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff’s Canine Unit has been in existence since 2002. There are currently five canine teams (dog and handler) working in the county. Four are assigned to the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County, and one is assigned to the town of Danville.
The canines are originally trained in a variety of dog sport work in Europe, where they are purchased and imported to the United States. Once they are purchased by the Office of the Sheriff, they are matched with a Deputy Sheriff where they they begin extensive training as a team. This training continues throughout the teams’ careers.
All of the canines are cross trained, which means they are trained to detect the odor of humans and narcotics. The human odor detection constitutes trailing, area search, building search, article search and apprehension. Narcotics detection is the ability to detect and locate narcotics of the following varieties: cocaine, methamphetamine (by extension ecstacy), heroin and marijuana.
The canines are live and work with the handlers until they retire when the handlers are given the option to purchase the canine from the department.