On Saturday, Nov. 10, San Jacinto Police K-9 “Wyatt” passed away due to medical complications, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department announced. Wyatt was rushed to a veterinarian hospital but died as a result of an inoperable brain tumor.
Wyatt, a Belgium Malinois breed, was born in the Netherlands on July 2, 2012. Wyatt was assigned to the San Jacinto Police Department under the police services contract with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
In November 2015, Wyatt was partnered with his handler, Sgt. Mark Wallace, and they both attended the K-9 training academy. They successfully graduated in December 2015 and were immediately assigned to the City of San Jacinto Police Department. Wyatt, a dedicated police K-9, specialized in apprehension, tracking and narcotics detection, and was successful in each of these areas during his career with the San Jacinto Police Department.
The San Jacinto Police Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department are honored and touched by the outpouring of support from the community and our allied law enforcement partners, according to a news release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department currently has 17 dual-purpose K9 teams trained to apprehend dangerous criminals and detect hidden narcotics, according to the Sheriff’s Department website. These dual-purpose teams cover the areas of Hemet, Jurupa, Lake Elsinore, Cabazon, Perris, Indio, Blythe, and the contract cities of Temecula, Moreno Valley, San Jacinto, Perris and Palm Desert. The dogs of this team are currently composed of two breeds: Belgian Malinois, German, and Dutch Shepherds. These teams patrol their assigned areas and work together to ensure the safety of the public and other law enforcement officers by apprehending suspects who are potentially too dangerous to apprehend without incurring significant injury. These teams also work together to locate hidden narcotics with the use of the Patrol Service Dog’s incredible inherent ability of smell. These teams are essential to patrol operations and will ultimately save approximately 1,000 man hours per team per year for the department and tax payers.
The K9 team also employs the use of two Bloodhound tracking dogs. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s Bloodhound handlers are well known throughout California and are frequently utilized by many other Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the state to locate fleeing felons, lost hikers, and missing juveniles. Bloodhound handlers and their canine partners are absolutely irreplaceable due to the lives they save on a regular basis.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department also has a fully operational Hazardous Device Team with two explosive detection Patrol Service Dogs. These dogs are used to detect and locate chemical compounds used as explosives to help the Hazardous Device Team locate potential terrorists and criminals in possession of dangerous weapons.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department has also recently started two Correctional K9 positions out of the Larry Smith Correctional Facility. Both Correctional K9’s and their handlers have been very successful in the jails located throughout Riverside County in locating illegal narcotics, cell phones, tobacco, and jail-made intoxicants inside of the jail facilities.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department K9 Team has also initiated a non-profit organization in the form of the Riverside Sheriff’s Association K9 fund. This non-profit organization is funded by community partners, and helps with the logistical support of the dog program as well as assistance for our retired K9 partners. If you would like to become a sponsor, or would like to donate to the K9 program, contact your local K9 handler (listed on the contact page) or send an email to the department at Donations@Riversidesheriffk9team.com.