The PSPD K-9 Unit was founded in 1980. The first two K-9s were "Sam" and "Hippy", both German Shepherd Dogs. Officer Pat Beltz was teamed up with "Sam" and Officer Ron Starrs (retired captain) was Hippy's partner for four years. Hippy was a 96 pound German import, who won a gold medal in the California Police Olympics, and was a two-time champion of the Redlands K-9 Trials.
Currently, we have two patrol officer positions assigned to the K-9 Unit. In addition to our patrol dogs, we have one bomb detection dog assigned to the Palm Springs International Airport. The K-9 Officers work under the direction of Lt. Gustavo Araiza and Sgt. Kelly Fieux.
PSPD K-9 handlers are assigned to regular patrol, but are accompanied by their K-9 partners. These officers handle all facets of regular patrol work, but are also available for specialized work such as burglary and robbery alarms, area searches, building and vehicle searches, crowd control and apprehension of dangerous fleeing criminals. Our dogs and their handlers undergo rigorous training weekly, practicing these skills to keep them sharp.
These well trained animals are capable of apprehending the most dangerous felons, but they also have a gentler side. The handlers and their dogs often put on K-9 demonstrations for schools, daycare centers, and other groups. The dogs interact with children and show off their obedience skills. When not at work, all K-9's live with their respective handlers and become part of the family.
Nearly all the dogs in the history of PSPD's K-9 program have been donated thanks to the generosity of civic groups, local business owners, and individuals who realize the importance of this special program.
Palm Springs Police K-9 Unit
P.O. Box 1830
Palm Springs, CA 92263-1830
Sgt. Matt Beard
Lt. Gustavo Araiza