By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
Boomer, the California Highway Patrol’s highly skilled Inland Division Belgian Malinois drug and explosive detecting K-9, once again detected an illegal narcotic hidden beneath an orange traffic emergency cone during a demonstration at the CHP’s Oct. 21 open house and car show.
According to Boomer’s handler, Inland Division K-9 Officer Heath Kuhlmann, Boomer underwent several months of intensive training at the CHP’s K-9 Academy in West Sacramento before being assigned to the Inland Division in 2020.
Boomer’s performance, one of several highlights during last Saturday’s open house, got underway when Boomer hopped out of Officer Kuhlmann’s patrol unit and immediately began sniffing a series of five orange cones before he detected the one containing an illegal narcotic and began excitedly drooling and waggling his tail. He then ran back to Kuhlmann, who rewarded him with a doggie treat.
Next, Kuhlmann began yelling for his fellow officer (the so-called “Bad Guy” who was donning a thickly padded jacket and padded pants) to hop out the bed of his pickup truck and give himself up. “Ninety percent of the time, I tell them they are going to get bitten and that it will hurt, and then they turn themselves in,” Kuhlmann explained to over 200 men, women and children witnessing the demonstration.
Of course, as planned, the “Bad Guy” refused to give up and Boomer lunged at him, barking and biting him repeatedly on the arm and leg and not letting go until Officer Kuhlman intervened and ordered Boomer back inside the K-9 patrol unit.
The open house, which began at 10 a.m., attracted a large crowd of men, women and children – many of whom were wearing costumes and makeup – who had come to look at some 60 classic vehicles entered into the car show competition and cast their votes for the ones they thought were best. In the meantime, CHP volunteers cooked free hot dogs and nachos and supplied cookies, donuts and soft drinks.
Since the open house was billed as a “Trunk or Treat” event, many of the car owners had free candy in their trunk for kids of all ages.
Before the event ended at 2 p.m., Lt. Salais, commander of the Arrowhead Area CHP office, announced the winner of a 50/50 raffle for a $520 cash prize, won by a lady named Patricia. Another raffle offered prizes ranging from Hot Wheels to children’s bicycles.
Just before 2 p.m., CHP Public Information Officer Ubaldo Gonzalez announced the top three winners of the car show. The first-place plaque was awarded to a Mr. Mroney for his bright orange GMC pickup. Second place went to Running Springs resident Craig Slape for his orange and blue Slingshot three-wheel vehicle. A Mr. Thompson from Lake Arrowhead captured third place for his original 1964 Chevy Malibu.