Canine Program

South Gate Police has one of the longest-running K-9 programs in Southeast Los Angeles County. Our 1st service dogs, Tony and Derby joined the department in 1981. Since then there have been 13 K-9’s working the streets of South Gate.

Program Benefits

Police dogs are one of the most effective and diverse tools used in policing. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and hearing, making them a valuable partner to a police officer. A police dog will respond to noise from much further away than a human. Their speed allows them to overtake a person running. Besides being terrific companions, they save time for our officers, reduce the number of officers needed for a search, perform more thorough searches, and help keep our officers and the community safe during the apprehension of dangerous criminals. K-9 teams generally work during the night-time hours. This allows the greatest effectiveness since most building searches, alarms, burglaries, etc. occur during this shift.

The K-9 teams also attend numerous civilian functions each year including school visits, local civic groups, and public education programs. During their time off, the K-9’s enjoy resting at their home, playing, and preparing for their next shift.


Our K-9’s are purchased when they are about 3 years old. We currently have one Belgian Malinois and one  English Springer Spaniel. We have imported all of our dogs from Europe, because of strict breeding and training standards.


Currently, the South Gate Police Department has 2 K-9 teams. Detective Mendez and K-9 Otis, an English Springer Spaniel, have been working as a narcotics detecting team since 2020. Officer Vega and K-9 Mailo, a Belgian Malinois, have been working as a patrol team since 2016.

Searching and detection work make up most K-9 deployments. A K-9 team goes to work only after successfully completing 160-hours of basic training and narcotic detection training. If you have any questions about the K-9 Program, you may contact Lieutenant Arana at 323-563-5675.