Costa Mesa welcomes Bodi, the first of 2 police dogs joining the force

The Costa Mesa Police Department recently released a playful video on social media of “K-9 auditions” for its newly relaunched police dog program. With two officers in director’s chairs serving as “judges” and a roll call of disinterested puppies as “candidates,” it was clear the department’s next police dog wouldn’t be coming from those tryouts.

But one dog did meet the standards and has joined the force in a restart of the K-9 program, which had been dormant since 2011.

Bodi, a 3-year-old Dutch shepherd from the Netherlands, began responding to calls with his handler, Officer Nick Dempkowski, on Dec. 26, the Police Department said.

Bodi is the first of two new members slated to join the K-9 force. Officer Candice McMorris, the department’s first female K-9 handler, is expected to select a partner in March and be deployed by May, the department said.

“K-9 units are a force multiplier and valuable resource for Police Department personnel on a daily basis,” the department said in a statement.

Since Costa Mesa police deployed their first service dog in 1988, the city has had 10 K-9 handlers and 12 dogs, the Police Department said. The dogs help officers with searches and apprehension and can be trained in narcotics and explosives detection.

Since 2011, when the police dog unit was dissolved amid department cutbacks, Costa Mesa has relied on neighboring agencies to help with K-9 services when needed.

The unit’s return is part of what the department called a “rebuilding.”