K-9s train at Isla Blanca Beach Park

By ALEXANDREA BAILEY
editor@portisabelsouthpadre.com

Citizens of Laguna Vista have a new officer ensuring their safety and keeping the streets clean from drug abuse and trafficking.

This officer is extremely dedicated, intelligent, and walks on four legs. Her name is Bella and she is a Belgian Malinois. She achieved her DLE, Dog Law Enforcement, certification in August 2021. According to Marketing Director, Trainer, and K-9 Handler Hubert Neri whose daughter, Samantha Neri owns DH K-9 Police K-9 Training and Sales, the K-9 training program in which Bella is enrolled, the DLE certification is the highest certification offered for K-9s in the nation.

DH K-9 is a subsidiary to D1 Security and Investigations.

Bella is imprinted on six odors; cocaine, meth, heroine, MDMA, marijuana, and fentanyl. She has the ability to track on hard surfaces and vegetated areas. She is one of the only tracking dogs in the area up to Harlingen and is also vehicle, open area, and building certified. She began her training at the young age of two months and is the first and only K-9 the Laguna Vista PD has had. “If you get pulled over, you’re going to get busted if you are carrying something,” said Hubert in reference to Bella’s aptitude.

On Monday, March 14, in Brownsville, K-9 Bella was able to alert her handler to a bag of heroin that had been in place for over 30 minutes in a 300 square foot search area in 20 seconds during detection training, which amazed onlookers according to Hubert. After being asked how that compares to other certified K-9s, he answered, “I don’t think they can do it that fast.” Bella’s handler is officer Roy Brooks with the LVPD.

According to him, Bella was one of the youngest dogs certified in the Valley and has already achieved several drug busts. Bella and Officer Brooks are together 24/7 and have an unbreakable friendship according to him. “She is very good at what she does, so do not bring drugs into the area,” warned Brooks.

With a DLE certification, a K-9 like Bella can alert their handler to whether or not a room is “hot” or “blank.” During the test the dogs must pass in order to receive the DLE certification, there are multiple potential distractions like food set in place as well as training aides- the narcotics. The k-9 must distinguish the difference between the two.

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