TRUCKEE, Calif. — Meet one of Truckee Police Department’s newest members — Trax, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever.
“Primarily, it’s a community engagement, public relations (effort),” said Police Chief Adam McGill. “… (He’ll) invite people to come up and talk to us, so not everything is a negative experience.”
When the department’s first-ever dog isn’t engaging the public, he’ll be using his nose to sniff out contraband drugs.
On Oct. 2, his first night on the job, Trax found methamphetamine in someone’s car, getting his first arrest under his collar.
“So he’s already working hard,” McGill said to a crowd of about 80 who gathered Tuesday evening at Town Hall for a badge-pinning ceremony.
Helping swear in Trax was Ryann Mitchell, a fifth-grader at Forest Charter School in Truckee, who helped name him.
In August, TPD launched a social media campaign so the public could help name the dog. More than 800 submissions were made, with Mitchell offering the winning name.
“This particular name encompasses Truckee’s foundation — the railroad — and what supports the train, and that would be tracks,” McGill said. “Also, one of the duties of this dog is it will track drugs.”
Officer Andrew Holbrook will serve as Trax’s handler.
“This is not like any other piece of equipment that he checks out in his locker or in our storage room,” McGill said. “… The dog is now part of his family — lives with him 24 hours a day.”
An eight-year service by Trax is estimated to cost $198,243, according to the town. First-year startup costs are projected at $36,500, which includes purchase of the dog, training for the dog and police officer handler, anticipated salary costs for the handler, refitting of an existing patrol vehicle and general equipment and supplies.
After the first year, annual ongoing costs are estimated at $23,000, which includes food, supplies, vet bills, training costs for the dog and handler, and personnel costs associated with the handler.
The primary funding source will be through asset forfeiture funds — money acquired from convicted drug dealers that’s used for ongoing policing expense.
Truckee Town Council authorized the department to purchase a dog in March.
Also sworn in Tuesday were three new humans: Officer Randy Misch, police records technician Caitlin Thomas, and police volunteer Elvia Esparza.
“This particular name encompasses Truckee’s foundation — the railroad.”
Truckee Police Chief