Meet Two True First Responders
Las Vegas Metro Police K9 Officers Sean Malia & Bear
– By Andy Gil
Lake Las Vegas’ own Andy Gil was invited to ride along with Las Vegas Metro K9 Officer Sean Malia and his K9 partner, Bear, where he witnessed an evening on Vegas’ streets and learned more about these amazing two- and four-legged first responders.
Andy Gil: What brought you to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department from California? And did you ever see yourself working with K9 and now SWAT?
Sean Malia: My uncle was a retired police officer living here in Las Vegas and told me great things about LVMPD 20 years ago. Working in K9 and assisting the SWAT team is a privilege, and was always a goal of mine.
AG: We often come across people that really don’t think about what it really means to work for the police department. Talk to me about that, and about how you and your K9 team are the definition of “first responders.”
SM: Often we are on scene with patrol officers before SWAT arrives. Active crime scenes demand we act and deploy our K9 partners accordingly. Our K9 partners save lives. They give us the time and distance to address a dangerous situation that we encounter.
AG: Talk about the organization, Friends For LV K9. How does the group help animals in transition, and how did you get involved?
SM: Friends is a great organization. Our department takes great care of our K9 partners during their career, and Friends allows for that same care to continue helping with all of their medical needs once they retire. It is a passion of mine to ensure these dogs get to enjoy the retirement they deserve.
AG: Tell me all about the Las Vegas Metro K9 Trials. How did it start? It looks like it’s been growing every year. (And congrats on your 2017 win!)
SM: We are in our twenty-eighth year of the K9 Trials. It’s our largest fundraiser for the non-profit. It brings agencies from all across the country and allows them to showcase their K9 teams. The first two days take place at Lake Las Vegas and the final ay takes place at the Orleans Arena. Last year, my K9 partner Bear and I competed. We were fortunate to win Top Dog out of 40 competitors and we helped win Top Agency. This meant a lot to me to represent my K9 section, my department and my community. Being “Vegas Strong” is something I take very seriously and hold dear to my heart.