Hemet PD’s K-9 “River” boasts busy month of “sniffing out” bad guys, guns

HEMET — According to Hemet PD, no matter where they go or what they are doing, citizens always want to know about the department’s K-9s and their handlers.

Hemet PD’s K-9 Team includes Team Supervisor Sgt. Derek Maddox, whose K-9 companion “Rosco” was recently retired from active service, Officer Andrew Reynoso and “Duke,” and Det. Benjamin and “River,” who joined the department’s K-9 Team last June.


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Formed in 1980, Hemet PD’s K-9 Team of highly trained officers and their furry partners “is a valuable asset and a very successful addition to our department and to the City of Hemet,” Maddox told RCNS today. The K-9 Team was paid for by the City’s local service clubs and “some of our Snowbird friends who visit every winter,” Hemet PD said in a recent social media post.

The department’s K-9 Team handles routine calls for service, assists with searching for lost or missing persons, assists officers with narcotics searches, and are always prepared and equipped to assist with critical incidents that go beyond the scope of normal police operations. They are also often called upon to do demonstrations at community events and area schools.

“Utilizing the natural abilities of their canine partners, these specially trained officers have proven to be a great asset to the Department,” explained Maddox. 

“Over the years we have had patrol dogs and drug detection dogs at our department,” Maddox continued, “But River is the first K-9 we have had at our department that is trained to detect anything other than people or drugs.”

While Duke is trained in apprehension and typically work within city limits, Det. Benjamin and River, a Belgium Malinois that is trained in scent detection and specially trained to detect and recover firearms and ammunition, are assigned to the Riverside County DA’s Gang Impact Team.

Although the DA’s Gang Impact Team is based out of Hemet, the Team – along with Det. Benjamin and River – are often called to locations throughout the County to assist with criminal investigations and critical searches for weapons and ammunition.

In the short time River has been with HPD, she and Det. Benjamin have been an asset to the department and to the citizens of Hemet, according to Maddox.

“Just last month River was responsible for locating ten firearms,” explained Maddox. “Firearms that would have most likely gone undetected without River and her special training.”

River “loves to work hard and the great thing is she works for toys, treats, and loves a pat on her head,” HPD recently explained. HPD photo

“She loves to work hard and the great thing is she works for toys, treats, and loves a pat on her head,” HPD quipped in their recent social media post. “Then again so does Det. Benjamin.”

For more information about how you can help support Hemet PD’s K-9 Team, or provide a safe place for the department’s ongoing training of their officers and furry partners, contact Sgt. Maddox at (951) 765-2400, or visit them on Facebook or online.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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