The Canine Services Unit is a subdivision of the Patrol Operations Division of the Amador County Sheriff’s Office. These canine teams are trained in multiple disciplines such as tracking and trailing, criminal apprehension, narcotics and evidence location, area searching and high risk tactical operations support. Canines in the program a selected for very specific traits consisting of extreme handler loyalty, selflessness, obedience and their ability to follow commands of the handler without hesitation or regard for their own safety. The canine teams are used on a daily basis by the Sheriff’s Office but are also available to the surrounding Law Enforcement agencies within the county as well as providing public demonstrations and the unique opportunity to connect with the public and present the positive side of Law Enforcement. The canines are purchased and maintained by the Sheriff’s Office but the canines are housed and live with the individual handlers and their families.
Our canines undergo an initial 12 week training program overseen and approved by the California Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. After the initial training program, the canines maintain their high level of competency and readiness by attending a minimum of 16 hours of training per month provided by a professional Law Enforcement canine trainer. The canines must also pass a rigorous yearly re-certification of their skills in order to stay consistent with current state law and canine training trends. Some of the more specific skills the teams train for is tracking armed and violent criminals from the scene of a crime, searching rural areas as well as within homes and commercial buildings, providing a psychological deterrence during tense and dangerous situations, searching for illegal drugs, protecting the handler and the public from attack as well as searching for items of evidentiary value left at a crime scene. The canine’s superior training and sensory capabilities also provide competent and extremely effective defense for a lone officer on patrol.
Assignment to the Canine Services Unit is rigorously tested and voluntary, however it requires a tremendous commitment of time and effort to maintain the team at a high level of competency and readiness. Deputy Bellotti has worked for the Sheriff’s Office since 2010. His canine, Vero, is a young German Shepard who started in 2016 after the retirement of Deputy Bellotti’s prior canine, Sabo.
Meet Vero! He’s the newest member of our team. The two-year-old German Shepard is a welcomed addition, after the retirements of Sabo and Rico. Vero is training with his partner Deputy Jeff Bellotti, and is already out there finding evidence and tracking down the bad guys. We are excited to share him with the community. Vero loves attention, so please come up and say hello, just check with Deputy Bellotti first