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Woman shines light on Rialto police K-9 unit

Jefferson Award-winner Greta Hodges
June 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Greta Hodges is the driving force behind the Rialto Police Department's K-9 unit and the reason it continues to exist, and she does it all as a volunteer.Like many communities, the city of Rialto is fortunate to have several police dogs on the force. Officers say the K-9 unit is an invaluable crime-fighting tool.

"When we have suspects who are hiding in a field or building, you make the announcement that you have a dog, and they surrender. They don't want to be bitten," explained Rialto police Sgt. James Gibbons.

But the unseen force behind this program doesn't have a badge and doesn't carry a gun.

Greta Hodges is the president of Friends of Rialto Police K-9s. She's the reason this program is as successful as it is today.

"I'm very passionate, that's the love of my life, the K-9 unit," described Hodges.

"We call Greta mom. We are all of her adopted sons because of what she has done for us," said Gibbons.

Specifically, Hodges helps her "children" pick each and every dog. She also deals with the fundraising.

It's a tedious and monotonous job, but one that she's done for close to 30 years, because she knows just how important these dogs are to the officers who work alongside them.

"When you go into a warehouse or a home and trying to find a suspect and you don't know who's in there, or weapons, the dog will go in there and we've never lost a dog, but I'd rather have that happen than lose an officer because we're very, very close. We're like a family," Hodges described.

Friday was a historic day at the Rialto Police Department. A Rialto officer and his dog Chemo graduated from narcotics detection, which means there are now four dogs certified in the department for narcotics detection.

All of this is thanks to Hodges, our newest Jefferson Award winner.


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