California State Parks K9 Program
State Parks K-9 Program Today
The California State Park K9 Program began in 1969. The Program was established to augment law enforcement services to California State Parks. Highly skilled and trained teams of handlers and K9s have evolved from the program and are used to supplement park operations to locate individuals, contraband and to apprehend criminal offenders.
The Job of a State Park K9 Handler is a unique one requiring special dedication and commitment. Our Peace Officers have full police powers, and all K9 teams adhere to Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) guidelines. They qualify annually in both patrol and detection. The Program currently consists of 21 K9 teams throughout the state that provide a protective tool for handlers, visitors and surrounding communities. 18 of the 21 K-9 teams are dual-purpose, meaning they are trained in both patrol work and detection. Our detection certifications consist of either explosives, narcotics, or firearms/ammunition.
Our K9 teams work collaboratively with other local, state, and federal agencies on various projects/incidents when needed. The teams respond to dynamic, quickly evolving law enforcement calls for service inside and outside of our park units with a highly trained K9 as an effective tool. The teams have worked at major sporting events such as Super Bowl 50, Amgen Tour of CA, and Ironman as well continuous major university commencements, large-venue music concerts, and multiple dignitary events requiring detection sweeps.
California State Parks is proud of the K9 Program’s success over the past 54 years. We look forward to continuing to honor the department’s mission of protecting not only our visitors, but also our most valued natural and cultural resources.