The Glenn County Fairgrounds went to the dogs on Saturday, as community members gathered to support local police officers and their furry partners at the annual Laws and Paws fundraiser.
During this special event, patrons are treated to a small music festival, carnival food and children’s activities. But the most anticipated event was the K-9 demonstrations, so people could see how the officers and dogs work as a team – without being on the other side of the law.
“The dogs are able to de-escalate situations without people getting hurt,” said K-9 Officer Bryan Simpson. “Their presence alone is enough to encourage good behavior. And they’re able to sniff out narcotics.”
The event was the brainchild of K-9 Officer Grant Carmon, who also saw it an opportunity to improve community relations. Both Carmon and Simpson made their rounds at the fundraiser so people could get to know their dogs.
“Our K-9 department is 100 percent funded by donations,” Simpson said. “We wouldn’t be able to have a K-9 program without the community’s help.”
While most attendees were locals, people came from outside the county to watch the dogs tackle “bad guys” and identify the location of narcotics.
“It’s great; our son works for the police department, so we came out to support,” said Tammy Cessma of Chico. “We just came to watch the dogs; it’s pretty neat.”
Others in attendance saw it as an educational opportunity.
“We just like to support our local K-9s. Our daughter wants to be a K-9 officer someday, so we’re hoping to get information on the process and what it’s like,” said Karen Riotto of Paradise. “The band is really good, too.”
During the K-9 demonstration, spectators were able to watch the dogs pursue an “assailant” (a volunteer wearing a puffy, protective suit) and search for drugs. But this year, organizers took the show up a notch by incorporating a helicopter into the routine. Officers demonstrated how the dogs are dispatched via helicopter during emergencies.
“We’ve been coming for a while, and every year they change it up,” Riotto said. “They always have good variety. They’ve definitely never had a helicopter.”
It’s uncertain how much was raised to support Glenn County K-9 programs, but about 100 people cheered on the K-9s at Laws and Paws.