An annual crab fest Fundraiser brings in $20,000 to $25,000 a year to help fund the Newman, California Police Dog K9 Units. The K-9 units have been on the street for about four years now with the dogs living at home with their handlers. The 2 K9 Units are Cpl. Chad Earle, with his dog Gunner, and officer Jason Hutchins, with his new dog Ringo, who is in training after his original dog had to be retired. Hutchins and Earle say their K-9 units have been involved in three apprehensions, and have been responsible for at least nine surrenders. That doesn’t count the times that the dogs have been called out to search buildings where officers believe suspects may be hiding, are used to track suspects or are a deterrent simply by their presence. While this might not seem like they are being used all that often the city they are working in is not a high crime area and as the officers have said the dogs are a deterrent for people trying to run or for doing something stupid to evade the police officers. The K-9 units can also be called out to assist with other local police departments – as was the case when Gunner located a well-hidden suspect trying to escape capture by Gustine police. The dogs are also used to help with crowd control at events and used during public demonstrations and visits to the local schools.
In order to stay in top shape the police dogs must receive a minimum of 16 hours of training per month to stay certified and ready to deal with any situation they might be placed in whether that is out in the woods or in the middle of the city. The money raised each year helps to cover the cost of the added gear for the dogs, training, and equipment for the handlers. The community feel that the dogs are an asset and have been willing to help pick up the cost of the 2 K9 units through attending fundraisers like the crab fest being held on March 31st this year.