The Glendale Police Department welcomed several new officers and staffers on Thursday during a swearing-in ceremony where the group pledged their commitment to the agency and city.
In addition to the human hires, the department also greeted a new K-9 officer named Mike, a 3-year-old Dutch shepherd, to its ranks.
Capt. Tim Feeley, who helps oversee the department’s K-9 program, said the dogs enable the department to reach out into the community in ways they couldn’t before, in addition to their regular duties of finding suspects and sniffing out bombs.
“They’re an incredible tool for us … Everybody loves these dogs,” he said.
Feeley said one type of community outreach is visiting schools and having students meet the dogs so children can have a positive interaction with police.
Also, five employees were brought on to the department’s professional staff.
Maria Castaneda, Ani Harutyunyan and Tatevik Harutyunyann joined as police communications operators, while Diana Doran will be a police custody officer and Alison Finch will be a public-safety business administrator.
Ryan Varela, Albert Nazaryan, Charlton Vidal, Mitchell Tompkins, Armand Simian and Thomas Onderdonk joined the department as sworn police officers, while Toby Darby was promoted to lieutenant.
Chief Carl Povilaitis said the ceremony was the culmination of a long journey for the officers and employees who went through a battery of tests and evaluations to join the department.
Of the 800 to 1,000 applications that come through the department for an opening, Povilaitis said less than 1.3% are hired.
“What we do here in Glendale is important. It makes a difference,” he said. “We work very hard with our community and end up being one of the safest communities in California and in the United States.”