STOCKTON – There’s a new Hoss in town, a brown 65-pound Malinois who understands Dutch, speaks in barks and owes his presence in Stockton to high school students who joined forces to replace a fallen hero.
Hoss, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office newest police dog, made his public debut Wednesday afternoon. The scene of the ceremony was Lincoln High School’s Engineering and Construction Academy.
The academy’s students raised the money to purchase the dog for the sheriff’s department as a community service project. By collecting more than $9,000, the students also were able to purchase a ballistic vest for the canine newcomer.
“This is what community-oriented policing is all about,” Sheriff Steve Moore told an audience of about 100 people, mainly students.
The students were moved to raise the funds by the shooting death of another police dog, 61/2-year-old Niko. In 2009, Niko was killed by a federal marshal he had bitten during a struggle with a wanted man. Niko had collected 57 street apprehensions and helped with more than 400 felony arrests during his career.
Deputy Jacob Wait, 25, is Hoss’ handler and is in the midst of a six-month training regimen with his first K-9, who received his initial training in Holland.
“I’ve been looking forward to being on the canine team for a long time,” Wait said. “They are such a valuable resource in law enforcement today.”
Wait pledged to periodically bring Hoss by the academy for visits. He chose Hoss as the name for his new four-legged partner at the recommendation of the engineering students, who wanted to pay tribute to teacher Jeff “Hoss” Wright, the academy’s founder. Wright, who looks like he walked off the set of “Bonanza,” is known for his trademark cowboy hat and boots.
“The dog is better-looking than me,” Wright said.
Contact reporter Roger Phillips at (209) 546-8299 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at recordnet.com/phillipsblog.
January 5, 2012, By Roger Phillips
Record Staff Writer