Week 4 of the Glendora Police Department Citizen’s Academy brought the class over to the hangers of Brackett Field in La Verne. The hangers presented a seldom shown staging area over the bustling tarmac to learn about the Air Support as well as the K9 program used by Glendora PD. While both of these programs may seem quite different at first thought, they are two of the most beneficial tools used in police searches, not that the limitations and benefits end at that.
First up was Detective Zach Houser, along with a pair of Pasadena PD pilots giving background and general knowledge of the Foothills Air Support Team, also known as the F.A.S.T. program. If you are wondering what that is, simply look up in the sky the next time there is any type of police containment or pursuit in or around our city.
With an average response time of 117 seconds, a police helicopter from F.A.S.T. responds to anywhere between 30-50 calls per month in Glendora, assisting in over 400 arrests per year.
F.A.S.T. provides helicopter air support to our city through a partnership with 11 other nearby cities to minimize the cost while adding an invaluable resource. The helicopters which do have routine patrols are also available to our police when they need them most. One recent incident, GCN readers may know well is during a burglary arrest when GPD arrested eight members of an East L.A. street gang during a burglary ring.
During that search, police arrived minutes after being notified of a buglary in progress near the base of the foothills and the helicopter was used to not only set the initial containment, but to be an ‘eye in the sky’ for officers tightening the grip on the area.
In addition to containment, the air units are also available for traffic management, homeland security, critical facility checks, aerial photos, community relations and even early wildfire and disaster assessment, such as the Colby Fire in 2014.
During that same arrest of the eight burglars, another invaluable asset was used, Bo. Bo is Glendora’s latest K9 unit and quickly becoming a rising star himself in the department. Bo helped apprehend two of the suspects who were located on a hillside during the burglary containment and got his first “bite” at that scene.
A 4 year old Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands (Yes, he is commanded in Dutch), he took over just last year after the retirement of Roby, and Blesk before him. The typical police dog can work until the age of 11, so he has at least 5-7 prime years left to help protect our great city.
Bo’s handler, Officer Scott Salvage, understands the commitment in time as well as the importance that the roll presents. They are on call 24/7 for the length of their partnership and service.
“I am very proud to be the third handler for the City of Glendora and could not be happier with my partner Bo. We expect to be a productive team and look forward to working hard and serving Glendora for the next five to seven years”, Salvage said.
One interesting, yet disappointing lesson that the class became aware of is that assault or even murder of a police dog is simply a misdemeanor. Obviously Officer Salvage and the rest of those wearing a badge perceive K9 units as one of their own, who could blame them. Bo along with other K9 dogs work alongside our officers selflessly to get the criminals off the street, and in this reporters opinion have just as much right to be honored as a member of the thin blue line, just as those sworn officers wearing a badge to protect us.