We respond to many types of calls for service here at the Mountain View Police Department. Of these calls for service, the most rewarding for patrol personnel are those where officers can help those that are unable to help themselves. This can be helping and assisting elderly persons, small children, or sometimes even animals.
While MVPD is a member of Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) who provides us with animal services, patrol personnel is typically the first on-scene to higher priority animal calls. This can include animals locked in a vehicle on a hot day, injured animals, animal cruelty cases, barking dogs or loose and/or dangerous animals.
Our first priority when handling animal calls, or any call for that matter, is both safety of the public and officer. But responding to animal calls require a different approach. Since the focus of our attention can’t speak to us and tell us what is wrong, officers must attempt to “read” the animal to ascertain the problem.
Like humans, animals give plenty of non-verbal cues. They can tell us when they are unhappy, upset, angry, scared, or even sometimes just bored. Their posture, a bark, growl, yelp, or whether they get close to us, and so on are all indications of their mental state. On patrol, we must be advocates for the animals when they are being neglected, abused, injured or harmed. Or, we must also be a line of defense for the public when an animal is a threat to the community’s safety.
Animal calls can be very challenging; a suspect can be talked to and sometimes reasoned with, a distraught person can tell us what is bothering them; animals cannot do that directly. We usually approach animals, mainly dogs, with a slow walk and a calm voice. A large aggressive dog can be just as dangerous as any determined suspect intent on causing harm. An animal that has been abused can display similar emotions and physical reactions towards us that we see in a vulnerable member of the community that has been harmed.
Animal control personnel are the true animal response experts in our city, but MVPD is a first response organization and must be trained, and properly equipped, to handle animal calls for service, which can be challenging but rewarding. Whether its saving a dog from running in to traffic, reuniting a lost pet with its owner, or protecting a neighborhood from a vicious dog, animal calls are very unique and require patience, attentiveness and most of all, concern.
MVPD is always here to serve and protect our community; and on occasion that also includes four-legged community members.
Community Services Officer B. Flores has been with Mountain View PD since 1991. He originally came on-board as a Records and then became a CSO in 1992. CSO B. Flores has held specialty assignments as a Field Evidence Team, Field Training Officer, Explorer Advisor and a Reserve Police Officer. His rescue dog, Ashlee, found her furever home with CSO B.Flores in 2006. He never wanted to get a pet until he got Ashlee, and now he can’t imagine being without her, or a dog, in his life.