From Partner to Pet: What’s Next for the CHP Anti-Crime Dog
California Highway Patrol K9 Pakito trained behind the scenes at Disneyland and provided security for the Blue Angels and even Vice President Mike Pence.
Pakito manager Modesto CHP Officer Matthew Fowles said these were his three best experiences as a K9 officer. But Pakito is happiest on regular duty, playing with his toy after a big drug seizure or having his head scratched by children after demonstrating at a local school.
After seven and a half years in the force, helping 245 arrests, more than 50 drug arrests and sniffing hundreds of pounds of narcotics, the 84-pound Belgian Malinois is retiring.
Pakito, 9, retires as the oldest CHP dog in the state on Friday, both in terms of years of service and age.
It’s not that Pakito isn’t ready for work anymore; A few weeks ago, he found 17 pounds of fentanyl powder and 10 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop. Fowles said the CHP wanted to make sure his dogs also had a chance at a happy retirement.
Pakito will be purchased from CHP by Fowles for $ 1, ranging from partner to pet.
Fowles said he knew Pakito was going to miss the action, but he also has no doubts that he will enjoy being a hobby dog.
As a police dog, Pakito is primarily required to stay in his kennel when not on duty, both for training and accountability reasons.
Soon it will be “being able to come into the house and relax and sit on the couch or by the fire on a rainy day, âsaid Fowles.
Pakito will also be able to join Fowles on a family vacation at the beach or camping by the lakes, where he can participate in one of his favorite pastimes: swimming.
Even in retirement, Fowles suspects Pakito of picking up scents as they float in the air.
He has a keen sense of smell that has found narcotics in hollowed out engine parts, seats, oil cans, roofs and other places.
Fowles said Pakito is a good all-rounder. While other dogs may have higher stats for apprehending or detecting narcotics, Pakito excels at both.
Plus, âHe’s probably one of our best K9 demonstration dogs in the area because he has this switch that he can turn on and off,â Fowles said. “He can go through biting work, (then the agitator) can take off the safety gear and can walk right away and stroke it.” He’ll sniff his drugs and let a line of 50 or 60 kids poke him on the head. “
Always professional, Pakito always has his puppy moments.
To protect his feet from the hot asphalt in summer, Fowles bought shoes from Pakito.
âThe first time he wore them, he looked like a baby giraffe; he was hopping through the air trying to figure out what these things are, âFowles said. And “he sounds like a Clydesdale running down the hall into them.”
When Pakito started working in 2014, it was the first time in five years that the Modesto CHP office had a K9. Initially, the office will again be without a police dog, as the post will go to the Fresno office.
“He will be sadly missed by our officers and our community,” said Modesto office spokesperson Officer Tom Olsen. “He regularly attends community events and takes all my fame.”
Pakito’s fame extends to social media as well. Photos of him posing next to so many packets of methamphetamine that they cover the hood of an SUV or plastic bags filled with 100,000 fentanyl pills are receiving hundreds of comments and likes on the Modesto CHPs Facebook page.
âHe’s social media gold,â Olsen said.
Fowles said the most popular Facebook photo of Pakito shows him walking through a blossoming almond orchard after helping stop a drunk driver who got away from an accident.
Whether online or in person, Pakito’s presence in the force will be missed.
âThe positive impacts he has had on so many citizens are countless and mean so much to me,â said Fowles. âSeeing the smiles he brought to so many faces and the defeat looks of those he handcuffedâ¦ (he’s) a very complete K9 partner.â
More than 50 arrests for drugs with seizures of:
- Cocaine – 236 pounds
- Crystal meth – 482 lbs
- Liquid meth – 8.5 gallons
- Marijuana – 740 pounds
- Pure Fentanyl Powder – 23.5 lbs.
- Fentanyl tablets – 128,196 tablets
- Heroine – 24 pounds
Apprehension / surrender of suspects – 245