The newest member of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department is a two-year-old from the Czech Republic.
Argo, a German Shepherd, became the second police dog in the department last month when officers picked him up from Kreative Kennels in Turlock, Calif.
The new police dog, with handler Mark Hounsell, joins the department's Belgian Malinois, Duke, and Officer Tony Broadfoot in the department's K-9 unit.
Argo's arrival is the culmination of efforts by Hounsell, Broadfoot and Sgt. Josh Adler, who formed the South Lake Tahoe Police Canine Association two years ago to support the department's K-9 unit.
The non-profit organization raised $4,500 through community donations and canine trials during the past two summers. The remaining $8,000 needed to pay for Argo, his training and equipment was paid for by criminal assets seized by police.
With the addition, South Lake Tahoe police will have access to a dog seven days a week, something officers feel will benefit South Shore residents.
While selecting a police dog is not an exact science, when members of the canine association saw the dog in Turlock, they immediately agreed he was the right choice.
"Believe it or not, there is a lot of personality involved in it," Broadfoot said.
Hounsell has faced the business end of police dogs for the past 15 years as a decoy and said he's excited to move to the handler position.
He's been brushing up on Argo's first language.
"I've been speaking more Czech than I have been English lately," Hounsell said with a laugh.
Although the German Shepherd has already received some training, he'll will still need to go through an additional 4 to 6 weeks of Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training certification with Hounsell before beginning work on the street.
Argo will start off focused on searching and suspect apprehension, but will eventually be trained in narcotics, Adler said.
To view pictures and videos of Argo training in Turlock, visit www.kreativekennels