Officer Randy and K-9 Officer Buck    

photo of randy and buck

Name of Handler: Randy Van Dusen

Buck, Male German Shepherd Dog

  • Branch of Law Enforcemen/City: Sacramento City Police
  • Age of dog: 6 years old
  • How long have you been working with your dog? 4 years
  • Type of police work dog does: In March of this year, Buck was selected as 1 of 2 dogs from our department specially trained to assist the SWAT team in searching for suspects during "high-risk" building and area searches.

    Buck and I traveled to Monterey California with another handler and several of our SWAT team members for an intensive week of training.

    The SWAT training for Buck included searching in buildings with tear gas deployed, working around gunfire, and working and searching in very close proximity to multiple SWAT team members. Buck has been used in several operations already that have included barricaded suspects, high-risk building searches and service of warrants.

  • Where did you get him? Tuscon Arizona (originally from Netherlands)
  • Has your dog won any awards?
    -2nd place overall novice CHP K9 competition 2004
    -3rd place "protection" CHP K9 competition 2004
    -5th place "search" Petaluma PD K9 competition 2006
  • Your dog's favorite people food: Anything my 3-year-old daughter is eating!
  • K-9 Buck smells the flowersBuck Sacked Out on Bed



All About K-9 Buck

Buck was imported to the United States from the Netherlands in November of 2003 for Police work and sent to a kennel in Tuscon Arizona. Other handlers from the City of Sacramento and I drove all day to Tuscon to test several dogs at the facility. Buck was the only dog there that passed our courage test. We purchased Buck and he got a long road trip back to Sacramento in our van.

Once home in Sacramento Buck and I bonded for two months before starting his training full time in January of 2004. Buck's training started with obedience then moved into agility and obstacles including being able to climb ladders, crawl through tunnels, climb fences, and jump in and out of our patrol car window. Buck was also trained around gunfire and trained how to ride in the back seat during vehicle pursuits. Buck then spent time learning how to search for "bad guys" by using his nose instead of his eyes in buildings and outside.

Buck is a wonderful partner that is thrilled to go to work anytime he can. He loves chasing and searching for bad guys but also loves to meet children at all the different elementary and pre-schools we have visited over the years. Buck especially loves my three-year-old daughter. Anytime she is upset or cries he immediately runs over to her and gives her kisses and tries to make her happy. Buck also loves sitting near her anytime she is eating so he can catch anything she may drop or decide to feed to him! When Buck is off duty he also enjoys playing with and chasing my other dog, Maggie(part pug and part minature shar-pei).

Every shift Buck takes part in obedience and agility training which can include chasing his tug toy, playing on the obstacles at our training facility or playing on playground equipment at a school or park.

Buck is an extremely hard working dog who has been responsible for the capture of many dangerous and violent felons but is also an extremely loving canine partner who would not hesitate to lay down his life to save that of any citizen or officer.

My wife often tells me that she used to worry about me going to work everyday and now she has to worry about me AND Buck! I feel extremely lucky to have Buck for a partner and truly love going to work with him. I feel like I have the best job in the world. Where else is it "take your dog to work day" everyday?

A Few of Buck's Calls

Having a police canine as a partner is an interesting and exciting job. Police canines are used by our department to locate and apprehend dangerous criminals who have committed serious crimes and pose a threat to the safety of the public and officers who must capture them. Here are a few of my partner's stories.

A Dagger Doesn't Daunt Buck

Buck taking a bath

In January of 2005, K9 Buck and I were on routine patrol in the Del Paso Heights area when we heard officer's request assistance with a subject that had fled on foot from them. Buck and I responded to the area and contacted the officers. The officers advised that a subject they knew to be wanted for a felony parole violation had fled from them on foot and he was last observed crawling through a small opening into the middle of a large area of berry bushes. The officers also advised me that they had arrested the same subject a few months prior and at that time he had been armed with a dagger. The suspect was known to have an arrest history that included extreme violence and resisting arrest.

Based on the fact that the subject was known to carry a dagger I was concerned for the safety of officers if we were to crawl into the bushes to get the suspect out. After attempting to negotiate with the suspect for his peaceful surrender, it was determined that the suspect refused to come out of the berry bushes voluntarily. K9 Buck was ordered to enter the berry bushes and locate the suspect. K9 Buck ran into the small opening of the berry bushes without hesitation. Two SWAT officers and myself followed directly behind Buck as he forced a tunnel through the bushes. Buck was much faster than I was going through the bushes and before long had already located the suspect who was just out of my view.

Buck grabbed the suspect's pants leg and began to pull the suspect back to me. As he did so, the suspect began to violently kick Buck in his nose and head with his free leg. Buck continued to hold on to the suspect's pants leg and pull him back towards me. As the suspect was distracted kicking Buck in his nose, I and the two additional officers were able to subdue him. Once the suspect was in custody and we exited the bushes, I saw Buck to had a large cut on his nose where the suspect had been kicking him. Buck never once let go of the suspect and continued to do his job even when confronted with violent resistance. In addition to the suspect being booked for his parole violation warrant he was booked for assault on a police service dog. The suspect plead guilty and was sentenced to six months of jail time for his assault on Buck.

K-9 Buck at the waterfront in San Francisco

Buck's Sniffing Powers Amaze Us

In December of 2006, K9 Buck and I were working patrol in downtown Sacramento at about 3 in the morning. Patrol officers responded to a burglary alarm call at a furniture warehouse. Upon their arrival on scene they immediately detained a suspect in an outdoor fenced area of the warehouse that appeared to be breaking into cars. A visual search of the exterior of the warehouse did not reveal any broken doors or windows where entry into the warehouse could be made. Buck and I responded to assist the officers already on scene by searching the interior of the warehouse.

Upon contacting the owner of the warehouse, he advised that the business was closed and nobody should be inside. I made several announcements into the warehouse warning any subjects inside to surrender peacefully or a police K9 would be used to locate them. Based on the officers on scene advising they had not observed any possible areas of entry into the warehouse, I did not believe there would be any suspects inside.

K9 Buck and I entered the several hundred thousand square foot two-story warehouse with one additional officer to search. Within less than a minute of entering the warehouse, I observed K9 Buck stand up on a wall and begin to sniff in the air. No sooner than I advised the other officer that Buck was indicating a suspect was inside, Buck started to run upstairs. I lost view of Buck as he ran up the stairs into another large area. I immediately heard footsteps running and then a large commotion as Buck apprehended the suspect. I ran to Buck's location and took the suspect into custody without incident with the assistance of other officers.

A small window that had been hidden from view behind a dumpster was later discovered to be broken where the suspect had entered the warehouse. Based on the size of the warehouse and the amount of hiding spots available, the suspect likely would never have been located without the use of K9 Buck's powerful nose. The suspect was charged with burglary and resisting arrest.

Officer Randy and K-9 Officer Buck

Buck Outsmarts Bank Robbers

In June 2006 on a hot summer day, K9 Buck and I responded to the south area of Sacramento to assist FBI agents and detectives with attempting to locate a bank robbery suspect that had fled on foot from a residence. Per agents on scene, the suspect had fled out the back of his residence upon their arrival and was possibly hiding in the surrounding neighborhood. I was also advised that the suspect had committed several bank robberies in the area and had been armed with a handgun during the robberies. Based on the suspect's violent crimes and the threat he posed to the safety of neighbors and a nearby elementary school, several K9s were used to search for him.

After searching the neighborhood for approximately two hours with no success, we were about to end our search. A detective and I decided to check one last yard that we had been unable to access due to a large locked spiked fence in front. I ordered Buck to climb the rear fence into the yard. As the detective and I climbed the fence I ordered Buck to search the yard. Buck ran to a car in the yard and circled it. He then ran to a shed next to the car and ran around it.

As I opened the shed door to look inside, Buck jumped into the shed under some boxes and grabbed the suspect. Buck began to pull the suspect out to me. The detective and I took the suspect into custody without further incident. Without Buck's assistance, the suspect most likely would have never been located in his hiding spot in the shed. The suspect was arrested for bank robbery and resisting arrest.




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