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Stores buy police K-9
Max, a 17-month-old Sheriff's Department canine, did not disappoint when showing his man handling skills at an Aug. 12 press conference at the Sheriff's Department canine training center just west of Ceres. The press event was staged to tell of how four Walmart stores in Stanislaus County chipped in to buy the Czechoslovakian trained German Shepherd. Max was unleased during a demonstration, ran over to a pretend fleeing criminal in a bulky dog bite suit and latched onto him, flipping him to the ground.

Store managers of four local Walmarts, such as Mary Lopez of the Ceres Walmart, were also impressed with the dog, made possible by the $10,100 donation to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department canine unit.

"Walmart is a true partner to our community and to law enforcement," said Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson. "Without Walmart's support, it would be difficult for the K-9 Unit to maintain the same level of service our community deserves."

Christianson also said that "law enforcement will never be successful ... without the community's help and we're thankful for Walmart's support."

Max joined the canine unit last week. He replaces Maverick, a canine who is retiring.

The Sheriff's Department has eight canines that are put to use countywide. The Sheriff's Department fields one handler and canine per 12-hour dayshift and graveyard shift. The dogs routinely help deputies apprehend criminals, locate missing persons, search buildings and property, and provide crowd control. The dogs also aid in officer safety, able to attack and bring down suspects who may otherwise be able to harm an officer. The canines also are invaluable public relations tools during school visits.

Kimberly Sentovich, vice president and regional general manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in California, said Walmart is "committed to being a good community neighbor," adding that store customers and associates "live and work in this community, and we know that programs like the Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit are vital to keeping our neighborhoods safe."

"This is beneficial due to the fiscal restraints and represents a partnership with the community," said Deputy Sgt. Dennis Cordova.

The donation was a collaborative effort by four Walmart stores-two in Modesto, one in Ceres and one in Turlock.

In August 2008 the Ceres Walmart store made a $3,600 donation the Ceres Police canine program in recognition of National Night Out.