The Rohnert Park City Council sent tails wagging on Tuesday when they approved the reinstitution of the public safety department’s canine officer program.
According to interim director of public safety, Jeff Weaver, the canine program will assist existing police with search and retrieval, improve officer safety and retention, and provide a friendly point of contact between officers and the community they serve.
“Animals have personalities, and communities have personalities, and we have to trust the canine trainer to be in touch with what we’re looking for,” Weaver said. “There’s a multifaceted aspect to this. They need to be able to function in front of a bunch of first graders at three in the afternoon and then corral some wanted felon in a creek at three in the morning.”
At the moment there are funds approved for the training of only a single canine officer. The city council budgeted a fund of $27,550 for the program, and while there are a few more bureaucratic hurdles before it becomes reality, the process looks to be well on its way. This is just the first of many planned improvements for Rohnert Park’s public safety department.
“This is somewhat low hanging fruit,” Weaver said. “It doesn’t require an additional staff member, we don’t have to add bodies to the budget, and it doesn’t require an additional vehicle, though there are some modifications needed.”