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K9 Mac police dog honored

American Canyon Police K9 Mac was honored on Nov. 20 by the City Council before retiring from duty. Joining Mac that night was his handler, Sergeant Osvaldo Hernandez, and Police Chief Oscar Ortiz. 

The American Canyon Police Department said goodbye last week to one of its most beloved, if not productive members who will spend retirement at home playing with kids.

Mac, an 11-year-old police dog, or K9, retired on Nov. 20, the same day his longtime handler, Sergeant Osvaldo Hernandez, officially left the police department for a promotion and new assignment with the Napa County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s been awesome” working with Mac, said Hernandez. “It’s the best job in the department. If I could do it all over again, I would.”

“But, unfortunately, I gotta move on,” he added with a grin. “I got promoted.”

Hernandez was recently promoted to sergeant, and now will serve as a shift supervisor in the Sheriff’s Office.

He and Mac spent six years together in American Canyon. Once the two were paired, they were inseparable, literally. They not only worked the same shift, but Mac would clock out with Hernandez at the end of each day.

“He’s been with me 24/7,” Hernandez said. “When he’s not at work, he’s at home interacting with our children.”

Now, the 70-pound Belgian Malinois will spend all of his time at home, along with Hernandez’s wife, Veronica, and their three young kids.

“You feel a sense of security [having Mac around],” said Veronica. “He’ll be a family dog now along with our other dog, a husky.”

Sgt. Hernandez said Mac is a good dog overall. “He’s a friendly dog unless you give him a command and then he gets in work mode.”

While in work mode, Mac was good for the city “cause he caught a lot of bad guys,” his partner said.

The City Council on Nov. 20 honored Mac with an official proclamation extolling his list of achievements.

In six years on the job, Mac “assisted officers with over 40 felony apprehensions,” according to the proclamation, as well as more than 200 drug busts involving heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Mac is also a member of the Sheriff’s Department SWAT team, and received specialized training related to his role in SWAT operations.

Before joining the American Canyon police force, Mac was a champion performer in Europe.

Raised and trained in the Netherlands, Mac competed in the Royal Dutch Police K9 Trials National Championships, which he won “not once, but twice, and has the rare distinction of winning both championships with perfect scores,” according to the city’s proclamation.

The police department’s K9 trainer brought Mac to the U.S. when he was 5 years old. Hernandez said they like to use dogs reared in the Netherlands because they have “more selection and better dogs” for police work.

“They dedicate themselves to the overall performance of the dogs there,” he said, and they get them ready to bite on command and learn how to search for things.

Police Chief Oscar Ortiz said Mac was a great dog for his department. He never lacked for energy, and was good dealing with the public during special appearances and events.

With Mac retired, the department introduced a new K9 — Mavric — on Sunday for his first official shift.

Mavric, a 16-month old Shepherd, will work with Officer Stephan Tong. The two just completed a five-week training program, according to Ortiz.

ACPD has a second K9, Chase, who has been with the department for three years.

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American Canyon Eagle editor

Noel Brinkerhoff has been editor of the American Canyon Eagle since 2014. Prior to that he covered state politics in Sacramento for the California Journal.