Glendale, California Event Goes To The Police Dogs

By Max Zimbert for

NORTHEAST GLENDALE, California — A police pursuit ended with some laughs Saturday in Verdugo Park.

The second annual Glendale K-9s in the Park fundraiser featured a mock police foot chase through Verdugo Park, complete with helicopter flyovers and sprinting German shepherds.

The reenactment was part of a slew of events to raise money for the Police Department’s K-9 unit, which is operated through community donations, organizers said.

“This is the day for us,” said Robert Wynkoop, an officer with the Glendale police K-9 unit. “This is when we raise all of our funding.”

He said it was about double the size of last year’s event, with more vendors, pets and people. The event is the unit’s only fundraiser, but community donations can be made throughout the year through the Glendale Police Foundation and the K-9 Club, Wynkoop said.

Organizers said the event was poised to raise more than last year’s haul of $30,000. Donations provide for the purchase of dogs, food, training, equipment and the necessities for the unit that specializes in four-legged abilities like drug sniffing and intimidation.

Buying and training one police dog can cost $25,000, Wynkoop said.

But the event doubled as a family affair, with moon bounces, face painting and barbecues. Present were scores of pet vendors and animal shelters, as well as city employees who administered close to two dozen pet licenses, officials said.

“A lot of it is sharing stories and learning about other pets,” said Marlin Miller, the mobile outreach coordinator with the Pasadena Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It’s about making connections.”

The K-9 unit features four dogs of varying ages, and Wynkoop said the department’s seeking to replace two or three dogs that are approaching well-earned retirement.

Wynkoop said his German shepherd, Marlin, began police work soon after he turned 18 months, and has been on the job for the last few years.

“We want to make the community aware that we have these dogs, and they’re not vicious; they’re well-trained,” he said. “We want the community to come out, enjoy the day and come back next year.”

Glendale resident Paul Black was studying at Glendale Community College when he saw a migration of families and dogs walking up to the park.

“Out of curiosity, we’re going to see what it is,” he said. “And bring our dog.”

For 5-year-old Emilio and his father Santiago Yniguez, the day was an opportunity for father and son time, Santiago Yniguez said.

“He loves dogs,” he said. “He saw this and got very excited to see the different dogs and the demonstrations.”

Throughout the five-hour event, K-9 officers demonstrated the various dog training. They showcased their dogs’ speed, agility and obedience.

In one demonstration, Sam, a K-9 German shepherd, galloped toward a suspect until his handler, Officer Shawn Sholtis, shouted the call-off command.

Like a boomerang, Sam made a U-turn and stood by his master’s side before another sprint and maneuver.

“This is the only event like this,” Wynkoop said. “It gives you an idea of the variety of things we can do.”

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