New Jail Narcotics K-9 Joins Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department

By Kelly Hoover for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department | July 6, 2018 | 1:07 p.m.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department is proud to introduce the newest member of its team.

K-9 Krypto, a 14-month-old black Labrador, and his handler, custody deputy Ian Ur, have teamed up to track down illicit narcotics inside the Santa Barbara County Jail.

K-9 Krypto, a 14-month-old black Labrador, and his handler, custody deputy Ian Ur, have teamed up to track down illicit narcotics inside the Santa Barbara County Jail. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

K-9 Krypto, a 14-month-old, high-energy black Labrador, started his new assignment this week at the Santa Barbara County Jail. Krypto and his handler, four-year Santa Barbara County custody deputy Ian Ur are working together to locate illicit narcotics at the facility. The team was put into place to help reduce issues related to the sales, distribution, consumption and introduction of drugs into the jail.

The purchase of Krypto was made possible thanks to funding from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s Benevolent Posse’s Project Deputy Dog. The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse (SBP) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation and is made up of non-law-enforcement volunteers throughout the county who donate their time and effort to assist the sheriff’s department fill its needs not funded by the constrained county budget.

The group saw a specific need to fund the K-9 program, which is a critical crime-fighting tool for the county. The SBP started the Project Deputy Dog campaign in early 2017. Purchasing a jail narcotics K-9 was the project’s first objective.

“Having a dedicated narcotics K-9 team is an efficient and effective way to help eliminate drugs from the facility, which as a result creates a safer environment for both inmates and staff as well reduces criminal activity both inside out outside the facility,” said Susan Pohls, a member of the SBP board of directors. “As a dog lover, this is an easy program to support.”

Krypto is trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and methamphetamine. He also is certified on building, car and open area searches. Krypto received his initial training at the Inglis Police Academy in Oxnard and showed a natural ability early on for detection work.

“His focus on hide and seek was amazing from the first time we threw his toy into a pile of laundry. He launched into it head first and came out with the toy in his mouth and a sock on his head. He was so proud,” trainer Daniel Inglis recalls. “I knew nothing would stop him from his goal.”

Krypto was born April 5, 2017, and was one of eight puppies in his litter. He was given the name Krypto, the name of Superman’s iconic dog, because of the drive and confidence he displayed as a puppy. The name also is fitting for his now handler, Ur, who grew up a Superman fan.

“Kryto is a super dog, so the name is perfect,” he said.

Ur said he is honored to have been selected as Krypto’s handler.

“Since I am very proactive when it comes to searching housing units and investigating my finds, I knew I would be the best person to partner with this dog,” he said.

Working in a jail is a unique environment, and Krypto so far is adjusting well.

“Krypto was brought into the jail for a trial run at the beginning of this year to see how he could manage the environment,” Ur said. “He loved it.”

Krypto already has shown great promise that he will be successful in his new career.

“He is so high energy and motivated to work,” Ur said. “I just hope I can keep up with him.” 

Ur and Krypto also will work at the Northern Branch Jail when it opens in summer 2019.

The Project Deputy Dog program is well on its way to raising enough money for the sheriff’s department to purchase a fourth patrol K-9 but still needs to raise $30,000 of additional funding. The fourth patrol K-9 will ensure there are bomb- and narcotics-trained canine teams 24/7, 365 days a year countywide. In addition to the cost to purchase the dog, there are ongoing training expenses, supplies, equipment and funds that go toward replacing dogs who are near their service retirement.

Click here to support Project Deputy Dog or for more information.

— Kelly Hoover is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.