excellence • professionalism • community partnerships

School Resource Officers & K-9 Unit

School Resource Officers
Deputies began working in La Plata County Schools twenty five years ago. During those early years, The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office placed Deputies in the Schools as DARE Officers. The DARE Officers often wore many hats while they were in their assigned buildings teaching the curriculum. When there were law enforcement needs, the DARE Officers would step in and take the appropriate action. The Officers helped teachers, administrators and counselors with students that needed counseling and in some cases a strong role model. The limitations of the program initially were when the DARE curriculum was completed, the officers would not be a presence in the buildings any longer. There was also limited involvement in the high schools other than officers working as part time security. 

The department made a shift from the DARE Program in favor of a home-grown program that allows for greater flexibility based on the needs of the community. Topics such as school safety, mental health and digital citizenship are included in classroom visits by the SRO's.

As the needs of the community changed and the size of the school district increased, a School Resource Officer unit was developed in 2001. The program was established as a cooperative effort by the schools and the Sheriff’s Office after a grant was awarded to the department by the US Department of Justice. This program allowed departments to assign officers full time to the high school as full time SRO. This gave the high school officers that were SRO's trained in the Triad concepts of school resource policing. The SRO Triad essentially means that the officer wears 3 distinct “hats” that describe their daily responsibilities. The 3 components of the Triad are Teacher, Counselor, and Law Enforcement Officer. 

Each SRO serves in some capacity in each of these roles. Flexibility and the ability to handle a wide range of incidents is extremely important to the effective SRO.

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office currently has 2 Deputies assigned to the School Resource Officer Unit. Our school district serves students in 6 buildings that include 1 high school and 1 middle school and 4 elementary. The SRO Sergeant is available to support the SRO at all levels.

We are very fortunate to have a strong, productive relationship with the faculty and staff at all of our schools. The Durango 9-R School District is now educating a little over 4,000 students and the responsibility of making the educational environment a safe place is our number one priority. The core responsibility of all of the officers is to provide for the safety of students and staff at all 9-R Schools. We work closely with school administration on a variety of criminal and non-criminal safety and security concerns. SRO's advise school administration on appropriate security and emergency preparedness for responses to topics like threats of violence. SRO are certified instructors in the ALiCE Active Shooter response for schools and train students and staff the wide variety of response options available in active shooter situations.

In addition to classroom visitation, the SRO represent a heavy involvement in the district safe school projects. SRO are involved in many other school and community programs as well. These programs include the hugely successful Safety Town, Eddie Eagle GunSafe program and Bike Rodeos.  The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office is working to implement an Explorer Post program in the near future.

The ultimate goal is for SRO to be heavily involved in the school community to serve as officers, counselors, teachers, coaches and role models. We serve as a resource to the teachers, administrators and staff of all 9-R schools. It is our goal to constantly improve what we do and strive for excellence in keeping our kids safe and providing a high level of service to our school and the community as well.

La Plata County K-9 Unit

Mission
To serve and protect La Plata County with an ongoing commitment to excellence, professionalism and community partnerships, through the responsible use of highly trained police service dogs.

Goal
The K9 unit strives to develop and maintain highly trained and well-disciplined K-9 teams that are capable of maximum operational efficiency. The K9 Unit will also promote positive and closer relationships between the community and the Department.

Deputy Cody Hawman & Ozzy, Lieutenant Matt Webb, Deputy Cody Bosick & Fenix  in front of La Plata Sheriff Administrative Office

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit was established in 1989 and over the past 30 years, eight different dog/handler teams have served La Plata County.  The La Plata County K9 Unit is a specialized unit currently consisting of three K9 teams. The K9 teams are nationally certified through the National Police Canine Association (NPCA). 

La Plata County K-9 Teams

Lt. Matt Webb, Supervisor
Lt. Webb joined the K9 unit in 2014 with his K9 Jimmy. K9 Jimmy retired in 2019.  Photo of Jimmy is at the bottom of this page.

Deputy Cody Bosick & Fenix in winter setting; Fenix outside in summer setting

K9 Fenix and Handler Deputy Cody Bosick
Deputy Bosick and K9 Fenix joined the K9 unit in February of 2020. K9 Fenix is a two year old
Belgian Malinois trained as a dual purpose patrol canine. K9 Fenix and Deputy Bosick
support the patrol division.



Deputy Cody Hawman & Ozzy in winter setting; Ozzy in summer setting

K9 Ozzy and Handler Deputy Cody Hawman   
Deputy Hawman and K9 Ozzy joined the K9 unit
in May of 2020. K9 Ozzy is a  three year old German Shepherd trained as a dual-purpose patrol canine. K9 Ozzy and Deputy Hawman support the patrol division.




Function
K-9 teams are available to respond to assist field operations on a countywide basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. K-9 teams also assist with emergency service
calls, as well as calls in the everyday operations of a deputy. This includes:

  • Track fleeing subjects
  • Search for narcotics
  • Search for missing people
  • Search facilities more efficient, faster and safer
  • Deter crime and keep order
  • Provide higher level of deputy safety
  • Reduce resistance during apprehension
  • Public relations (K9 demonstrations)

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit teams undergo rigorous and specialized training, making an effective team dedicated to your safety and quality of life. Our services included drug detection, outdoor area searches, suspect apprehension, building searches, criminal interdiction, evidence recovery and handler protection. In addition, the K9 Unit plays a vital role in providing support for law enforcement and even our local Schools!

The unit does regular demonstrations for school functions, and other community gatherings.  Contact the K9 Coordinator at: k9@lpcgov.org  to arrange a demo.  Each request will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Funding the K-9 Unit
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit is proud to be sponsored by the National Police Dog Foundation. This sponsorship is used to raise funds, promote education and awareness for the purchase, training and development of law enforcement K9 Programs. La Plata County Sheriff’s Office is currently seeking and accepting donations to raise the necessary funds to provide needed equipment to the K9 Unit.

The K9 Unit is greatly supplemented through private donations to the National Police Dog Foundation, which are tax deductible. There is no minimum or maximum donation.

No special considerations are offered or expected in return for this donation except that this donation will be used for the sole purpose of funding training, K9 acquisition, equipment and future program requirements.


You can donate to the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit by Check:

Checks Payable to:
National Police Dog Foundation
Memo Line: La Plata County K9 Unit

Checks can be hand delivered or mailed to:
La Plata County Sheriff’s Office
Attn: K9 Unit
283 Girard Street
Durango, CO 81303


La Plata County K9 Unit Retired Canines


Picture of retired K9 units Omar, Joerie, Zahn, Jimmy, and Astra