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Thursday, October 24, 2013

DVI welcomes first drug sniffing dog

Tracy PressMolly, one of the newest correctional officers at Deuel Vocational Institution, gets paid in
kibble, walks on all fours and is covered head to toe in fur.

The 19-month-old Labrador retriever mix is the first K-9 officer in the 60-year history of the rural Tracy prison.

Her task is to sniff out illegal drugs hidden inside the prison, as well as on prisoners and people in the visitors center, under the direction of Lt. Clinton Hays, commander of the new K-9 unit.

“We expect big things from her,” Hays said. “We recognize drugs in prison are a major issue. She will be able to do things a human corrections officer can’t do.”

Molly’s handler is correctional officer Robert Willox, who was the first to raise his hand when Hays asked for volunteers. Officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation proposed stationing a police dog at DVI in late June.

Willox already has a Labrador and two Boston terriers he shares with his wife and children. Molly, who goes home with him each night, has been welcomed into the family.

“It’s been a blast,” Willox said during a Sept. 27 training session with Molly outside the prison. “I thought I had the best job at DVI as an investigator, and now I know I have the best job.”

Molly was given to prison officials on Aug. 7 by a Vacaville family that could no longer keep her as a pet. continue reading...

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