DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien Police Department has two new furry officers protecting the community, as two new K-9 Teams have been placed into service this past month.
Officer Leslie Silva, a two-year veteran of the department, has been partnered with K-9 Grizzly, a 3-year-old chocolate lab. Officer Amanda Hinkley, also a two-year veteran, has been partnered with K-9 Argo, a 1-year-old German Shepherd. Both teams have completed extensive obedience and narcotics detection training over the past several months.
Silva and Hinkley were chosen department administration as K-9 handlers based on supervisory recommendations, work performance, and having met the criteria of those who can responsibly care for and manage a police canine 24 hours a day, both on and off duty. Grizzly was selected as a K-9 with incredible drive and a keen ability to detect narcotics in a variety of environments. Argo was selected based on his ability to detect narcotics, his exceptional courage, physical strength, and agility.
Although already certified in narcotics detection, Argo and Hinkley will continue training in tracking, building searches, handler protection and apprehensions. Both K-9s were purchased from and trained by Superior K-9 Services of New Milford.
These two new K-9 Teams will succeed the former team of Officer. Nicholas Aranzullo and Zulu who was the first K-9 team in the department’s history. Zulu, at 9 years old, was taken out of service and retired in December of 2016 after an accomplished and decorated career. Aranzullo has since been assigned to the Detective Division.
"The Darien Police Department is hoping to enhance the level of service and protection that it provides to the citizens of Darien by continuing and expanding upon our K-9 Program," police said in a statement. "The unfortunate narcotic abuse epidemic that has unfolded in our area as well as numerous other parts of the country has demanded that we better equip ourselves to not only combat the problem but to protect our community."
The two teams will be a full-time addition to the department's patrol force. They will respond to everyday patrol cals along with emergencies and critical incidents. Their special abilities include narcotic detection, locating missing children, evidence recovery, building searches, acting as a crime deterrent through their presence, criminal apprehension, and public relations.
"The Darien Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality police services to the community," police said. "With these two newly established K-9 Teams we reinforce our commitment to public safety while maintaining Darien’s reputation as an attractive, safe, and thriving community."