The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office introduced a new member to the team Thursday.
K-9 Duke is a two-year-old specially trained German Shepherd who was born in Germany. The Sheriff’s office received funding from the Project Deputy Dog program in order to bring Duke to the team.
His first official day of work was October 22, but the Sheriff’s Office formally announced that Duke had joined the team on Thursday. His handler is Deputy Brian Scott, an 11-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office says the two will be stationed in northern Santa Barbara County, but they’re available to respond to calls all across the county.
Duke and Deputy Scott are the fourth K-9 patrol team to join the Sheriff’s Office. A spokesperson for the office says this will allow them to have 24/7, year-round K-9 coverage in the county.
Duke and Deputy Scott graduated from patrol school, where they completed 200 hours of training. The Sheriff’s Office says Duke is trained in human scent detection, open area building searches, handler protection, and apprehension. He will eventually be trained in bomb detection and hard surface tracking.
“Duke has a high drive, is personable and sociable. He has an amazing ability to know when it is time to work and time to play,” said Deputy Scott.
Deputy Scott says he became interested in becoming a K-9 handler early in his career.
“I appreciated and enjoyed seeing the bond the handlers had with their dogs and the reward they received from working together,” said Deputy Scott.
Duke lives with Deputy Scott and his family when they aren’t at work.
“He is a great addition to the family and has bonded well,” said Deputy Scott.
The Sheriff’s Office says adding the K-9 team would not have been possible without a large donation from Reece and Christine Duca of Carpinteria. The couple had a first-hand experience with the Sheriff’s K-9 team, when they located two suspects hiding under the couple’s house in 2017. They say they wanted to do something to help the program after that day.
“Seeing the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s K-9 teams in action is something we will never forget. Sheriff’s Deputies simply cannot do all of what the dogs can do. Had the canines not located and apprehended the fugitives, who knows what would have happened that night,” said Reece Duca.
The Ducas chose Duke’s name. Reece says she chose it because Duke is a term of endearment she uses for her husband.
The Sheriff’s Office K-9 team consists now of four patrol K-9’s and a Jail Narcotics K-9.