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Police officer and his dog build dynamic duo

Stephany Mejia, News Editor

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CSUSM Police Officer David Angulo and his K-9, Armor, are together, even on their days off.

The duo teamed up in 2015, when the german shepherd arrived from Germany. Ever since, they worked in protests, concerts, marathons, presidential candidate debates and the Palm Springs International Film Festival — and patrolling the CSUSM campus.

Armor is the only bomb-detecting dog in North County and is trained to detect 20 different odors, said his handler Angulo in a recent interview. The pair helped to find weapons, ammunition, and bomb-making material for other agencies.

Angulo had to go to the K-9 Academy to train with Armor and another dog to see which pair would bond. Armor chose the officer.

“He is like my shadow. Anywhere I go, anything I do, he is always staring. If I go to the bathroom, he is staring. If I’m in the shower he is staring. If I do my report, he is staring, if I get up, he is like ‘where are we going dad’,” said the officer.

Angulo said the special bond is so tight that sometimes when he is driving in his personal car, he finds himself talking or looking back to check on Armor.

During their time off, the duo play in the backyard, go for a hike or watch law enforcement television shows.

“I’m convinced I always smell like a dog, there is hair everywhere. I’m always dirty, I always have paw prints somewhere, I always have slobber and it’s always in the most inappropriate area because of where he sits or stands,” said Angulo.

Armor suffers separation anxiety. Angulo said he prefers to take his buddy with him when he travels because the dog gets so stressed he does not want to eat. “Those things weigh on the back of your head,” said Angulo.

Angulo said both love their jobs.

As soon as Armor hears the fastener strips in Angulo’s police vest open, Armor gets excited because he knows it is time for work, Angulo said. The K-9 has no toys at home, keeping him motivated to work.

The officer described Armor’s breathing changing and scratching the floor  with a smile on his face indicating he has found something. “‘Daddy I found it give me my toy’… It’s all a game to him,” said Angulo about Armor.

Armor and Angulo train everyday. At times, another officer hides an ammunition like object; this training is called a blind hide. Armor and Angulo do not know where it is and it is the best way to train said the officer.

If Angulo knows where the toy is, he could lead the dog or reach for his toy, giving signs to Armor where the object is located. The officer said it prepares them for real life scenarios where Armor and him are called to inspect a building.

 

Armor sleeps in a Tempur-Pedic dog bed, has a mani-pedi once a month, is on a raw meat diet, has a spa day every two to three weeks and has his own mail box, said the officer.

Police dogs usually retire between ages eight and ten. When Armor, who turned six on July 30, retires, Angulo plans to keep him and will have to progressively stop taking his friend to work to make him comfortable to stay at home.

Angulo said other officers joke that people know Armor but not him.

“I love that dog. I am with him more than I am with any other human. I really am. It’s disgusting and ridiculous how much you worry about your dog,” said Angulo.

He said Armor is a great ambassador from the campus police department to the community.

The officer said Armor knows the locations on campus where people give him treats. He automatically walks to those locations and likes to enjoy time with his friends.

Some students take pictures with the K-9 and pet him. Angulo said Armor is not a biter, so it is OK to pet him. But the officer does not recommend people petting other police dogs without asking first.

Angulo graduated from California State University, Bakersfield, and first in his class at the Sheriff’s Academy in Bakersfield. He joined UPD in 2013.

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