The Grants Pass Police Department's K-9 program began in the year 2000. At inception, the program was entirely funded through community donations. To date, all Grants Pass Police Department K-9's are purchased through private donations.
The K-9 program was started with K-9 Daum, a German Shepherd. Daum worked with Sergeant Jeff Gaunt and helped to establish the high standards we enjoy today. Daum served the citizens of Grants Pass until his untimely death on November 27, 2004.
Grants Pass Police's second K-9 was Barry, a Belgian Malinois, who served from 2001 until his retirement in 2008. After retirement, Barry was sold to his handler, Captain Todd Moran. In 2012, Barry passed away after enjoying a wonderful and fulfilling life. After proving the value of K-9 teams, several other teams have followed. K-9 Rommel and his handler, now Lieutenant Justin DeKruger, K-9 Rocco and his handler, Corporal Jesse Wallace. Recently, Sergeant Jeff Gaunt simultaneously retired with K-9 Brock. Sergeant Gaunt was an advocate and later the founding handler of what is now our K-9 program. Jeff remains a state-certified Master Trainer through the Oregon Police Canine Association.
Officer George Gasperson handles our first drug detection K-9, Match. Match is a German Shorthaired Pointer that has been working the streets of Grants Pass since 2017. Match works closely with RADE (Rogue Area Drug Enforcement). Due to the passage of ballot measure 110, Match and the use of drug-detection K-9's are uncertain in the State of Oregon.
Officer Jeff Craven handles our one patrol K-9 team. His partner, Maro, is a Belgian Malinois. Together, Jeff and Maro have been a K-9 team since March of 2020.
The police K-9 teams enjoy working the night shifts; dedicated to the citizens of Grants Pass as they offer a sense of extra protection, confront danger in the cover of darkness, and are faithful to their handlers. The Grants Pass Police Department's K-9 teams generally work during the nighttime hours. This schedule is most effective since most building searches, alarms, burglaries, etc., occur during this shift. The K-9 teams average 3 to 4 deployments each shift and are responsible for hundreds of captures.
The K-9 teams train weekly, and they are certified through the Oregon Police Canine Association. The K-9 teams also attend numerous civilian functions each year. These include school visits, local civic groups, and public education programs.
During their time off, the K-9 enjoy resting at their home, playing, and preparing for their next shift. If you have any questions about the K-9 team, don't hesitate to get in touch with Lieutenant Justin DeKruger at 541-450-6260.