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Santa Monica Crime Fighter Joins Family After Retirement

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

February 28, 2020 -- After nearly half a lifetime fighting crime, one of the Santa Monica Police Department's top dogs has retired.

On Tuesday, the City voted to approved the sale of Kai -- a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois -- to his handler Police Sgt. Phillip DeRyck for $1.

K9 Kai
Kai (Courtesy SMPD)
During his two years on the force, Kai has been involved in "numerous felony arrests and apprehensions and has received commendations for his capabilities," staff said in their report.

A cross-trained explosive detection canine, Kai also has conducted "many high-risk explosive detection searches in Santa Monica along with several other regional cities."

Kai left the force last October after developing "a medical condition" that forced his retirement.

"It would be unsafe to expect Kai to continue working as an active service dog due to the problems he is experiencing," staff wrote.

Kai's tenure was not without controversy.

Last October 15 the City Council approved a $99,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by Jovan Leonard against the City.

The lawsuit claimed DeRyck ordered the canine to bite the plaintiff's leg during an arrest in June 2018.

SMPD maintains four K-9 units with a trained police canine and their officer handlers, Department officials said.

It is the the Department's practice to transfer ownership of the canines who have reached the end of their active service to their handler, officials said.

"This allows the handler, his/her family, and the police dog who has become a member of their family, to continue their journey together," staff said.

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