Canine Officer on Duty at Cal U
The newest member of the California University Police Department is alert, personable, highly trained — and loves to gnaw on tennis balls.
Bas, a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, is the first canine member of Cal U’s campus police force. Purchased from Battle Ridge Kennels and K9 Services in West Virginia, the dog is being trained in obedience, patrol, tracking and narcotics detection skills.
“This is another element of our department’s community policing approach,” says Cal U police Chief Edward McSheffery.
“Our No. 1 job as police officers is to make this campus a safe environment for both our students and our employees. Bas can help with that — but he’s also here to help us build relationships between the police force and our students. That’s what community policing is all about, and this dog has just the right personality for the job.”
The American Kennel Club describes the Belgian Malinois as “an alert, high-energy breed” that resembles a smaller, lighter-boned German shepherd. “Intelligent and trainable, the Belgian Malinois possesses a strong desire to work,” the kennel club reports.
Bas has begun patrolling the campus with his handler, Sgt. Robert Kwiatkowski. In addition to visiting academic buildings and residence halls, the pair has attended large-scale events such as Honors Convocation and Commencement.
“Bas is a public relations officer, as well as a patrol officer,” says Kwiatkowski. “He’s a very social dog, smart and well trained. But he’s also a working police dog, trained to protect his human partner and enhance campus safety.”
Bas travels in a specially marked patrol car “and should be treated with the same respect as any police officer,” his handler says.
The region’s business community has given Bas a warm welcome. Clover Farm Veterinary Clinic, in Fredericktown, is providing medical care. Tractor Supply Co. in Belle Vernon will provide dog food, and the Walmart store in West Brownsville has donated various pet supplies. Poochies, in North Huntingdon, will groom the dog, and many others have made donations toward his care.
“I can’t thank these community partners enough,” McSheffery says. “Their generosity will help us to give Bas everything he needs to be a healthy and productive member of the department.”