Carol Craig and her husband, Jack, began donating funds to the Bakersfield Police Department’s K9 Unit in 2014.
Following Jack’s passing in 2016, the unit decided to name Carol’s most recent donation in his honor.
Meet K9 Jack, a 13-month-old German Shepherd, in his second week of training with BPD’s K9 Unit.
“You can understand that I was very emotional when they arrived at my house after picking him up to let me know they wanted to name him after my husband,” Carol Craig said.
K9 Jack was purchased from a vendor in San Diego but spent the first part of his life in Guadalajara, according to Senior Officer Chad Haskins, head of BPD’s K9 Unit.
Carol Craig said she got the idea to donate her third K9 to the department in November. The timing was perfect, as it coincided with BPD preparing to retire another dog.
Ironically, Craig said she’s always been a cat lover and currently owns four. She said donating police dogs is “just my thing.”
“The community is such a giving community, and I guess this was our way of giving back,” she said.
Jack has been paired with Officer Noe Ramirez, who will serve as the dog’s new handler, trainer and roommate. Ramirez described it like having a partner — besides the fact they live with you — in the sense that officer and dog are learning about each other.
Ramirez is new to the K9 Unit after spending the previous five years with BPD. He’ll train with Jack four to five days a week.
Jack will go through 10 weeks of training, five dedicated to patrol training and the other five for narcotics training.
He’s currently the only K9 in BPD’s training program. The unit consists of 11 dogs with two on patrol at all times, although Haskins said he would prefer to have a few dogs in training at once.
“Sometimes we have to pull in older dogs in certain situations, where a younger dog might not have developed the confidence yet. It helps to have a couple of dogs with more experience,” Haskins said.
Much of BPD’s K9 Unit consists of Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds, Haskins said. All are cross-trained to cover patrol work and detect narcotics or bombs.
When shopping for their newest K9s, Haskins said, BPD purchases them “green,” meaning they have no prior training.
“When we pick out the new dogs, we look for qualities such as being very well-mannered. It helps for public appearances if they’re friendly and approachable and can still play and have fun and be able to turn work off,” Haskins said.
Haskins said that K9 Unit members serve more of a supportive role while on patrol and don’t usually get involved in “larger-scale” investigations. The dogs assist with things such as burglaries once a building is cleared of any remaining suspects, and do sweeps of areas to help locate explosive devices.
Haskins said the dogs are trained to aim for the arms as a target area when dealing with suspects, in order to disarm them. He added people usually surrender when they realize the K9 Unit has arrived.
Ramirez said the typical K9 career span is four to five years before retirement. He added that he’s most looking forward to all of the things he and Jack will do together.
“Obviously we’re very grateful as a unit (for the donation),” Ramirez said. “For myself, I’m very thankful for Carol Craig.”