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October 14, 2009 > Officer Davila and canine Tuffy set to retire

Officer Davila and canine Tuffy set to retire

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By Bill Mancebo

Tuffy, a five-year-old German shepherd, is a loving, affectionate companion who likes to play with toys and go for walks - at least, until his leash goes on. Then, he transforms into a "dual-purpose" working dog, one that is trained to sniff out narcotics, find suspects, and work alongside a SWAT team. He and his canine officer, Robert Davila, have been working together for three years at the Fremont Police Station. They will retire together on October 27 during a farewell ceremony.

Davila, who has been with the police station since 1980, has had a number of assignments over the years, but by far his favorite was working as a canine officer. Outside of being part of the SWAT team, serving as a field training officer, and working on an undercover assignment, he said, "It's the best assignment I've ever had, time consuming but rewarding." Davila, who has always been interested in the K9 program, applied to be a canine officer and began training with Tuffy three years ago after his paperwork was processed. He and Tuffy, who received basic obedience training in the Czech Republic, had to attend school for patrol techniques for about a month together and received training for narcotics about a year later.

The pair recently worked together to find a wanted man who fled from the police. The man, who had run into a church, was hiding in the air ducts of the building. Tuffy realized where he was hiding, and immediately started barking at an air vent, signaling to the officers where the man was located.

This is just one example of how Tuffy and Davila have a strong relationship due to their mutual enthusiasm and work ethic. In addition, the first place trophy that they earned last year from the canine competition, the Witmer-Tyson Trials, evidences their successful partnership. The trials consisted of four phases: the first phase being obedience; second, obstacles; third, protection and fourth, search.

Although Tuffy already lives with Davila and his wife and is considered to be part of the family, after retirement he will simply be a loving pet, no longer having to commute to work. After the final lineup and inspection on October 27 signifying their retirement, Davila supposes that he might pick up another job somewhere along the road. He said, "It's just kind of strange, seeing as this has been pretty much my entire adult life." Even so, Davila realizes that this is just another chapter of his life closing, and is looking forward to retirement together with Tuffy.

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