The 1-year-old German Shepherd Axel hit the streets this month as a new member of Watsonville PD. After being purchased from the Czech Republic in February, he underwent one month of training that was both demanding and fun, learning skills in tracking, handler protection, article searches, and apprehension. He then came to Watsonville to partner with Officer Javier Ayala, and in 2018 Axel and Officer Ayala will attend a month-long training in narcotics detection.
According to Lola Maldonado of Watsonville PD, out of the five K-9s evaluated during the selection process in training, “Axel demonstrated the most drive and a great temperament, and took an immediate liking to Officer Ayala.” He will now be using his skills to protect Officer Ayala and the entire Watsonville community, and will track missing persons, recover articles essential to investigations, and apprehend fugitives. Axel’s work will also extend beyond his protective duties, as he will visit local schools and businesses to interact with the community he serves.
The purchasing and training of Axel was made possible by several charitable partners and initiatives. Community member Becky Campos generously donated the funds that made Axel’s acquisition possible, and the Watsonville Police Assistance Fund purchased essential safety equipment. Two new K-9 vehicles were bought through Measure G and were then equipped by the Police and Working K-9 Foundation. The NPDF is proud to have awarded the grant that paid for Axel’s basic patrol school and will cover most of the cost of the narcotics detection school that Axel will undertake in the coming year.
Written by Nicole Hymovitz
“NPDF is proud to assist in the initial training of Axel.”