Sept. 6, 2016

Contact: Brenda Trobaugh

Cal Poly Police Department Welcomes New K-9 Partners

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s University Police Department has expanded its team to include two K-9 officers. German shepherds Xello and Brisan have joined the police force and are a welcomed addition to the campus community.

“We are very fortunate to have these two great dogs on campus,” said Brenda Trobaugh, Cal Poly’s deputy chief of police. “They will play an integral part in campus safety and student success.”

Together with their handlers, Xello and Brisan have undergone certification training to ensure their ability to perform key functions for the campus. In addition, the dogs will participate in Cal Poly’s animal science and veterinary programs, playing an important role in demonstrations and other “Learn by Doing” activities. And having two dogs enables Cal Poly to have K-9 support more days and times of the week.

“These dogs aren’t just extra sets of eyes and ears for our department – they also offer an incredibly powerful sense of smell,” Trobaugh said.

Their highly-developed sense of smell will aid in many aspects of public safety, helping the police force resolve cases more quickly. For example, the dogs can assist in finding lost or missing people. They will also help boost officer safety, eliminating some of the risky functions officers may have otherwise had to perform themselves. Both Xello and Brisan were hand selected in Germany by veteran K-9 trainers.

Much of this in-depth selection process involves finding dogs with the right temperament. And to be a university K-9, a community-oriented temperament is key.

“Our dogs are very gentle and good with people,” Trobaugh said in describing the dogs’ interactions with the public. She also said that the dogs are trained to their handlers and will only respond according to their handler’s command.

“Xello responds off of me and my energy,” said Cal Poly Officer Stephanie Pipan, Xello’s handler. “He knows my voice. And like a best friend, he looks out for me and everyone else on the force.” Xello, 6, has been a street-trained K-9 for the past four years.

Prior to joining Cal Poly’s force, Pipan worked alongside Xello in Morro Bay, where Pipan was a police officer for seven years. Pipan helped develop the K-9 program for the Morro Bay Police Department, and Xello was the first patrol K-9 in that area.

Brisan, who is 2, comes directly from Germany and has been matched with Cal Poly Officer Paul Davis. Brisan and Davis just completed their certification training this summer.

The addition of a Campus K-9 Unit was supported by fundraising that included a 5K/10K fun run that University Police hosted in January at Laguna Lake Park. All money raised on the race day went toward the K-9 unit and related equipment.

“Xello and Brisan are here because of our dedicated Cal Poly police force,” Trobaugh said. “Our team identified the tremendous value of a K-9 unit to our campus community — and they worked together to make the unit a reality for Cal Poly.”

Fundraising efforts will continue to help support the K-9 program and cover costs associated with monthly trainings and equipment. To supplement funding, the department has done T-shirt sales and donor outreach, and a fundraiser dinner is also in the works for the fall. Open to the public, the “Dine with Coastal K-9” event will be held Oct. 22 at Thousand Hills Ranch in Pismo Beach and will feature a “wine and dine” format including raffles and K-9 demonstrations. The event is sponsored by the National Police Dog Foundation and its proceeds will be split between the Cal Poly, Pismo and Atascadero K-9 programs. For additional information on the event, visit the Cal Poly University Police K-9 SLO Facebook page.

Photo and video opportunities available by request.

About Cal Poly

Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 20,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.

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