Originating in 1970, The Garden Grove Police Department was the first police department in Orange County to have a canine unit. Several agencies have utilized Garden Grove’s Canine Unit in mutual aide situations and the success of the unit led to many surrounding agencies starting their own Canine Units.
The Canine Unit’s primary responsibility is handling alarm calls and responding to in-progress crimes. The dogs are often used to search for suspects fleeing serious crimes and search for lost children. The dogs are very successful in their searches due to their acute sense of smell, hearing and sight. Using the dogs help reduce the level of danger to officers by alerting them to the location of a hidden suspect. Currently there is one Canine Team in the Police Department: Officer Omar Perez and K-9 Strauss.
Strauss is a two year old Belgian Malinois and lives at home with Officer Perez. Strauss is friendly and loves the attention he gets at home and from people he meets at canine demonstrations. Handlers and canines build very strong bonds during their years of working together and most police canines continue to live with their handlers even after retirement.