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THE SPOTLIGHT MURRIETA POLICE DEPARTMENT CANINE OFFICER & SPRING CLEANING Motor Officer Jay A. Froboese Murrieta Police Department Traffic Division This month our SPOTLIGHT is on Officer Daryl Underwood and his canine partner Django. Officer Underwood submitted the following article to me along with a photo of him and his partner for this issue. As you will see, Officer Underwood has quite a sense of humor and likes to talk about his canine partner Django. Following Officer Underwood’s submission, with my editorial comments for color in brackets, I have rounded out this month’s column with some spring cleaning items. Throughout the year citizens contact me with ideas for articles that only take a few lines to discuss so I like to address those each spring. So without further ado, Officer Underwood…………………..you’re up!!! Photo Here To be submitted Monday March 14, 2005 Allow me to introduce my partner Django and me. I am Officer Daryl Underwood, and I have been the City of Murrieta’s only canine handler for the past year. Okay enough about me. Let’s talk about my partner Django and his responsibility as it relates to police work in our great city. Django is an interesting breed to say the least. He is a Belgian Malanois and has a metabolism and drive like a Hyena [similar to Officer Underwood]. Django was born in Holland on July 4th, 2001. He was trained initially by the Dutch and later imported to the great US of A in January of 2004. I received Django that very same month. Django and I then attended the basic 240 hour police canine academy at Adlerhorst International located in Riverside, Ca. During this training, Django was taught how to be used in the field of police work. In Europe he was taught some of the basics. But here in the states, he, along with all police service dogs are put through very extensive basic training coupled with on going weekly training. After the basic police canine academy, Django and I attended a basic 200 hour narcotics academy. During the training, Django was taught a new skill; the detection of narcotic odors and their derivatives. In other words, Django is a three purpose dog. He is utilized to search for articles with human scent on them such as guns, knives, baseball bats, etc. And he searches for humans and narcotics. Django is an unbelievable tool for police work. Studies show that one police service dog not only saves officers lives, but cuts back on man power. Django is able to search the interior of a business or residence within minutes, while officers hold a perimeter or wait outside the structure. It takes multiple officers much longer to accomplish the same task with great risk to each officer should someone actually be hiding or armed with a weapon in the structure. Django has a bullet proof vest that he wears for such instances where a weapon might be involved. So what sets a dog apart from us humans in terms of their ability to locate things and people? It is pretty simple, dogs’ olfactory system, or sense of smell, works up to one million times better than ours. Their hearing is approximately 15 times better than ours. And the beautiful thing about Django is he runs approximately 30 MPH at top speed. [So does Officer Underwood] Oh my, that is a speeding ticket in a residential neighborhood. [Sometimes Officer Underwood dreams of being a motor officer] Finally, if you see Django and me driving down the street, just wave. Of course, if you are the type that wants to break the law, remember the above mentioned information. 30MPH, one million times better, and 15 times better. What this means is simple. You can run but you can not hide. Make it a great day. Daryl Thanks Daryl for that great article. Could not help myself with the color commentary!! SPRING CLEANING Parking Violations: When you receive a parking violation it is usually for some simple vehicle code violation you know you violated. You pay the nominal fine and get on with life. But did you know there are also city and county ordinances that if violated could get you a parking ticket? The most common city ordinance violated in Murrieta is the ordinance prohibiting a citizen from advertising their car for sale on public or private property, unless of course the private property is their own. The ordinance is in place to keep our cities clean and free of the “used car lot” look. The fine is steep at $80.00 and we tend to write a lot of these tickets on the weekends. Check with our city code enforcement for a complete list of city ordinances related to parking violations. Turn Signals: Yes it is the law that a turn signal must be used before any lane change or turning movement if another vehicle is close enough to be affected by the turning movement. This is covered in section 22107 of the California Vehicle Code, not to mention it is the courteous and safe thing to do when driving. The signal should be given at least 100 feet before the vehicle begins turning or changing a lane. Bicycle Helmets, Scooters and Cell Phones: There is a law enacted January 2004 in the Vehicle Code that requires children riding the non-motorized scooters to wear bicycle helmets. There still is no law that prohibits motorists from talking on a cell phone while driving. Recent published surveys show nationwide; there are about 1 in 10 drivers on the highway at any particular time talking on a hand held cell phone. My observations would indicate that number is significantly higher in Murrieta. Be careful out there. Airbags and Children: Although not a law, please remember when you travel with small children or infants to always follow your vehicles and car seat manufacturer’s recommendations and place those kids in the rear seats away from front seat airbags. I am surprised at number of parents I see with infants and small children in the front seats exposed to the explosive nature of airbags should an accident occur. Many of these airbags can kill your child on a very simple low speed front-end collision. If you ever have question about how to properly restrain your children, do not hesitate to call or stop by the Police Department. We are always more than happy to help you with your car seat or offer advice regarding the restraint of your children in your vehicle. Limit Lines and Crosswalks: Limit lines are solid white lines twelve to twenty four inches in width that extend across the roadway to indicate the point where traffic must stop at intersections. I get a many calls during the year from crossing guards and pedestrians that motorists ignore these lines and crosswalks, and protrude across the lines or into crosswalks when they stop at intersections. Remember, when you stop at an intersection your entire vehicle should be behind the limit line or first line of the crosswalk. Blocking a crosswalk is an infraction, not to mention it exposes pedestrians to traffic if they must walk out of the crosswalk and around your vehicle to cross the street. As always, I look forward to hearing from you with your ideas for improving this column, your questions, and your suggestions for future articles in the Murrieta Insider. I receive many calls and e-mails every month and appreciate the feedback. Please feel free to contact me at 909-304-2677 Ext. 6754 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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