CSUN Police Department introduces new K-9

CSUN Police Department introduces new K-9

Lucy Guanuna

Officer Anthony Vargas and supervisor of the K9 unit, Tom Finnerty, attend a special ceremony honoring the careers of K9 officers Mitch (center) and Isy. Officer Isy is the 4th in line of explosive detection dogs at CSUN, and officer Mitch is certified in patrol and narcotics. Photo Credit by: Charlie Kaijo / Senior Photographer

CSUN’s police department held a ceremony to introduce a new K-9, Isy, and honor the other K-9’s in the unit who died or retired.

Isy, a 4-year-old German Shepard, trained in bomb detection, started last September. She was officially introduced by her owner and partner, Tom Finnerty, supervisor of the K-9 unit.

Mitch, a 7-year-old German Shepard, trained in narcotics detection, was reintroduced by his owner and partner, Officer Anthony Vargas, who is new to the K-9 unit.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of the K-9 unit, but I couldn’t because I hadn’t reached all the requirements,” Vargas said. “I needed a house and a yard and once I had them, I was happy to join.”

A video was shown to honor the new additions and commemorate K-9’s Dozer, who retired, and Freida, who died.

When Finnerty talked about Freida, who died a week before her retirement, he teared up reminiscing about his time with her. The officers can easily become attached to the dogs because they live with and work with them, Finnerty said.

“I remember the day Finnerty sent out an email informing me and the other chiefs that Freida had passed away. I was bawling more than he was,” said Police Chief Anne Galvin. “You really bond with these animals.”

Both dogs did a search demo where the officers hid smokeless powder and narcotics in the room. The dogs sniffed members in the audience, their bags and chairs before finding the items and were rewarded with toys the officers were holding.

The police department sold t-shirts at the event to raise funds for the unit. Finnerty said they have been lucky to receive funding for the K-9 unit because it costs more than $20,000 to purchase and train the dogs. Donations help lower those costs.

The dogs have a number of duties on campus, they have helped locate missing elderly people who may have wandered onto campus from the local senior citizen center.

The dogs also conduct random narcotics searches on mail that comes to faculty, staff and students on campus.

“It was great to see everyone come out, all the students and faculty,”
Finnerty said. “We will be doing fundraisers in the future and we appreciate all the support.”

Supervisor of the K9 unit, Tom Finnerty, rewards K9 officer Mitch after completing a search demonstration for guests at the an event honoring the careers of the K9 unit. Photo Credit by: Charlie Kaijo / Senior Photographer
Provost Harry Hellenbrand sits for a photo with Supervisor of the K9 unit, Tom Finnerty, and K9 officer Mitch at an event honoring the careers of CSUN’s K9 unit. Photo Credit by: Charlie Kaijo/ Senior Photographer