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Petaluma Police K-9 Unit

Petaluma Police Canine Unit



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K-9 Basko
Name: Basko
Breed: Belgian Malanois (pronounced “Mal-in-wah”)
Sex: Male
Weight: 72lbs.
Born: July, 2010


Handler: Corie Joerger

Training: P.O.S.T Certified for Patrol and Narcotics

Officer Joerger has worked for the Petaluma Police Department since December 2002. In October 2009, Officer Joerger was selected as a K9 handler and was teamed up with “Tango” an 82lb Dutch Shepard. After three years, Tango retired and Officer Joerger was then teamed up with canine “Basko”, a two year old Belgian Malanois.

After being trained, Basko came to work for the Petaluma Police Department in October, 2011. Basko is trained for “dual purpose” patrol duty. Dual purpose means the dog is used to find both criminals and narcotics.

Basko is very well rounded and is certified for patrol as well as narcotics. Basko is also trained in article searching and tracking. Basko has assisted in many arrests of fleeing persons and has located over a half million dollars’ worth of narcotics and narcotics related money.


K-9 Jeff

Name: Jeff
Breed: Australian Shepard
Sex: Male Weight: 40 lbs.
Age: 8

Handler: John Antonio

Training: P.O.S.T Certified for Narcotics

Officer Antonio has worked for the Petaluma Police Department since 2001. After being trained, Jeff and Officer Antonio became partners in 2016. Jeff lives at home with Officer Antonio and his family when he is not working. When Jeff is working, Officer Antonio patrols in a Petaluma Police Chevrolet Tahoe. Jeff is trained in narcotic detection. Jeff has had two previous handlers prior to Officer Antonio. Jeff enjoys going to schools and doing community presentations, where people are given the opportunity to meet Jeff.

K-9 Jimmy

Name: Jimmy
Sex: Male Weight:

Handler: Art Farhina

Training: P.O.S.T Certified for Narcotics

Art and Jimmy's bio coming soon...


Canine Unit History


In 1967 Petaluma was the only North Bay law enforcement agency to have a canine program. Officer Al Fambrini owned, raised, and worked the streets with Arko, a two year old 95 pound male German Shepherd. Arko's career was highlighted on January 20, 1973 when he was credited for single-handedly saving the life of an innocent man who was about to be lynched by a mob during a riot caused by the stabbing of a famous local athlete. Before retiring at age nine, Arko's outstanding temperament and ability as a police canine was passed on to a litter of pups. Two pups, Nero, owned by Officer Wayne Rathe and Dewey, owned by Officer Pat Parks were raised at their owner's expense until they were of age to train.

Al Fambrini, after promoting to sergeant/trainer, worked with these teams along with Officer Gary Ellis and his German Shepherd, Kelly. In 1975 the team of Officer Rathe and Nero were the first to complete the certification process. In addition to his designated patrol duties, Officer Rathe spent countless hours increasing community awareness with Nero. By conducting school demonstrations, he was able to speak to youth on avoiding peer pressures and the negative effects of drug use. This was years prior to the successful D.A.R.E programs of today. Sergeant Fambrini and Officer Rathe were the first officers in the North Bay to participate in the police canine management courses. Due to budget constraints, the canine program was discontinued in August of 1976. The canines in training, Dewey and Kelly, were not placed on the street and Nero was retired.

The 1980's brought about new search and seizure laws allowing cash and property taken in narcotic arrests to be used for drug interdiction. Backed by Captain Parks and Lieutenant Al Fambrini, Officer Andrew Mazzanti put forth a proposal to purchase a narcotic/patrol canine with seized funds. Chief Dennis DeWitt accepted the proposal and received the approval of the Petaluma City Council. The department purchased a German Shepherd named Uran who became the first dual purpose canine in Sonoma County . Uran located $25,000 in drugs, seized $25,000 in cash and property and assisted in fifty arrests.

Uran was replaced by Rocky, a dual purpose Belgian Malanois imported from Holland . On November 1, 1990 while attempting to capture a fleeing suspect, Officer Mazzanti fell into a ditch filled with water. During the struggle, the suspect kept the officer's head under water. Rocky was released from the patrol unit via a remote on Officer Mazzanti's utility belt, made contact with the suspect who then surrendered and was taken into custody.

The department further expanded the cost effectiveness of its program by regularly allowing other law enforcement agencies access to the canine unit for drug related warrant searches, collecting a percentage of any cash or property seized. Officer Mazzanti completed his commitment to the canine program and returned to patrol.

In July 1991, Officer Roy Loden became Rocky's handler. Officer Loden and Rocky were the first canine team to compete in statewide police canine trials. Officer Loden also instituted the first ever police canine trial in Petaluma . In March of 1992, Rocky assisted Santa Rosa Narcotic Agents in locating chemicals and $10,000 in laboratory glassware hidden in a storage locker. The chemicals, if processed, would have produced $3 million in methamphetamine and is the largest find in Sonoma County history. Officer Loden completed his commitment to the canine program and returned to patrol. Due to his age, Rocky was placed into retirement.

In January of 1995, the canine unit expanded with the addition of Officer Paul Accornero and a dual purpose Belgian Malanois named Bert. Officer Accornero and Bert provided entertainment to the citizens and won numerous awards while attending statewide police canine competitions. Bert was responsible for capturing 82 criminals during his short career. In February 1997, Bert passed away from a sudden illness and Officer Accornero returned to patrol.

In November 1996, Officer Jeff Hasty and 105-pound Rocky II joined amongst the ranks of Petaluma 's finest. Officer Hasty and Rocky II added the expertise of "tracking" to an already diverse canine program. Rocky II located several suspects during his career. At the age of ten, Rocky II was retired and Officer Hasty returned to Patrol.

In August 1997, Officer Aaron Garihan and Oscar became the sixth police canine team to work for the City of Petaluma . Oscar was purchased with citizen donations, to ensure the citizens of Petaluma have a police service dog on duty seven days a week.

On April 23, 1999, Officer Paul Accornero returned to the position of canine handler with his Belgian Malinois named Roy . Officer Accornero purchased Roy in Holland and trained him for patrol use and narcotic detection. Officer Accornero and Roy have competed in trials throughout California and have already won numerous awards in all categories.

In October 1999, Officer Garihan promoted to an undercover assignment and Oscar became the new partner for Officer Rick Cox. After completing a five-week training program in Cherry Valley , California , they began working the street together. Oscar quickly made a name for himself as an excellent street dog due his drive and abilities to detect narcotics and to locate and apprehend suspects.

Canines Roy and Oscar have been solely responsible for the apprehension of over 150 dangerous criminals, the seizure of over $65,000 in drug money and countless amounts of illegal drugs. The police dog teams focus on promoting a positive image of the Department in the community. The teams give demonstrations at career days, safety fairs and schools, where students collect the canine teams trading cards.

The Petaluma Police Department continues to have the only dual purpose police service dog program in Sonoma County , as well as the only canine in the area trained for patrol work in the " Revere " method of search and bark. The 30-year old program has a superior safety record.


Contact Us

EMERGENCY cell phone calls: 707.762.2727


Non-Emergency: 707.778.4372
Fax: 707.656.4059

Ken Savano, Chief of Police
969 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952


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