In this graduation season, seven new CHP K-9 officers are in a class by themselves.
The California Highway Patrol welcomed the newly trained K-9s after their graduation ceremony Thursday.
These dogs are now a part of the Patrol and Narcotics Detection Canine Teams (PNDC). This is the only 2018 graduation for K-9s trained in PNDC.
The K-9s and their handlers worked together for 13 weeks training in criminal apprehension and narcotic detection.
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At the ceremony, both the dogs and their handlers were congratulated for completing this accomplishment.
"I am extremely proud of the dedication and commitment that each of you have shown to make sure that these K-9s have the training that they need to go out there and serve the citizens of California," Assistant Commissioner of Staff Amanda Ray said.
Five Belgian Malinois and two German shepherds graduated. The officers represent the Border, Northern, Vvalley, Inland and Golden Gate divisions of the California Highway Patrol.
Officers must go through a rigorous interview process to be selected as a K-9 handler, according to Valley Division Lt. Jo Pini. The job requires dedication, since the dogs come home with the officers and become a part of their family, she said.
"The officers are asked a series of questions that pertain to policy and law and they also get put in scenarios and learn things about the dogs before they are assigned to one," Pini said.
With this new graduating class, the CHP now has 40 PNDC teams. five patrol and explosive detection K-9 teams and five explosive detection teams stationed throughout California.