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Police K9 Redd helps SRPD officers find drugs in a suspects car trunk.

Proactive SRPD Officer and Police K9 Redd Work Together to Make Large Drug Arrest

On July 6 at around 9:10 a.m., Salt River Police Department (SRPD) Officer Eric Mitchell was on patrol in the area of McKellips Road and the Loop 101 Freeway, searching for a person with an outstanding warrant believed to be in the area. Mitchell observed a vehicle connected to the person, and upon identifying a traffic violation, conducted a traffic stop.

Before exiting his patrol car, Mitchell noticed that the vehicle’s three occupants were moving about in a suspicious manner. He immediately called for additional units to assist him. During his contact with the occupants of the vehicle, Mitchell, based on his nearly 20 years of training and experience as a law-enforcement officer, combined with his observation, believed there may be drugs present, causing him to request SRPD’s Canine Officer and K9 partner.

The SRPD Canine Handler, Officer Darryl Garcia, and his Police K9 partner Redd, responded to assist Mitchell with his investigation. Officer Garcia escorted Police K9 Redd around the vehicle, and Redd immediately reacted to the trunk of the car. Redd’s reaction generated sufficient probable cause to conduct a search of the trunk, and upon doing so, the police officers discovered a backpack with possible illegal contraband. The contents of the backpack included more than 2 ounces of brown and black tar heroin (with a street value of approximately $1,200), more than 4 ounces of methamphetamine (with a street value of approximately $3,500) and other various drug paraphernalia. In addition to the illegal contraband, the officers seized more than $1,500 in cash and the involved vehicle (consistent with the SRPMIC Ordinance to seize vehicles involved in narcotics crimes).

The person whom Officer Mitchell was initially looking for was arrested on the warrant, and all three occupants of the vehicle are pending drug-related charges.

Sergeant Jared Leonard, Mitchell’s supervisor, said, “Officer Mitchell has taken it upon himself to focus on addressing the narcotics which are coming through the Community. He is a hard worker and a go-getter when it comes to warrants and drugs.”

Chief of Police Karl G. Auerbach responded, “Officer Mitchell is an experienced and skilled professional police officer, and our Community and the SRPD are so fortunate to have such a dedicated, loyal and highly proficient officer serving and protecting the Community from dangerous drug traffickers. This is another excellent example of Officer Mitchell’s productivity [as a] Guardian of the People!”

Officer Mitchell is a 12-year veteran with the SRPD. He is a lateral officer from the City of Chicago Housing Authority, where he served for seven and half years prior to coming to the SRPD. He is a highly decorated officer who has worked as an undercover narcotics detective, a member of a tactical unit and now also serves as a Field Training Officer who trains the SRPD’s newly hired police officers. In 2015, Officer Mitchell was recognized as the SRPD’s Officer of the Year.