Dog News, Jobs, Training and Facilities

Meet the SVSP K‑9 Unit: Bodie and Emma

Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) K-9 Unit Officers and their dogs.
K-9 Officer Benjamin Duran and Bodie, left, with K-9 Officer Roberto Cardona and Emma.

Central Region K-9 teams help maintain public safety

Thanks to Bodie and Emma, the Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) K-9 Unit keeps busy with contraband searches while also assisting outside agencies with public safety.

Bodie is assigned to K-9 Officer Benjamin Duran while Emma works with K-9 Officer Roberto Cardona. Both teams have been together since 2020, working in the Central Region K-9 Unit.

As a K-9 Unit, they’ve conducted hundreds of searches at SVSP and other institutions in the region. They have also helped serve search warrants for the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, and Monterey County law enforcement agencies.

Duran began his CDCR career at the Basic Correctional Officer Academy (BCOA) in 2014. He started with the Investigative Services Unit in April 2019 and graduated the K-9 Academy in August 2020.

Bodie and Emma were assigned to their officers on the third day of the K-9 Academy.

Cardona graduated the BCOA in 2015, began with ISU in February 2019 and graduated the K-9 Academy in August 2020.

Both K-9s, who hail from the Netherlands, have been trained to alert to the scent of cell phones, tobacco and controlled substances such as marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

Reasons they love the work

“I love everything about being a K-9 Officer,” said Cardona. “Thanks to the bond I have created with my K-9 partner Emma, we make a great team together. She gets excited when I open the door to her kennel because she knows it is fun and play time. She immediately walks to our assigned K-9 vehicle and waits for me to open the door to get our day started.

“Once at work, whether it’s training or an actual search, Emma always gives me 100%,” he said.

Duran said he loves K-9 work.

“What I love about being a K-9 handler are the challenges and rewards. The challenges such as the constant training needed, being aware of when to correct the bad and praise the good, understanding my K-9’s attitude for the day and what I can do to manage the bad days and good days,” Duran said.

He said he looks forward to the daily challenges because they vary.

“The reward comes from the challenges we face as a team. When (conducting) searches throughout SVSP, other institutions in the Central Region, and outside law enforcement, it is amazing to see all the training and work we put in. K-9 Bodie knows what to do and is very independent when it comes to a search,” Duran said.

Rewards for a job well done

“As a team, we do not want to fail. To give Bodie his reward after a discovery is something we both (enjoy). For us as Officers, having the contraband recovered, to K9 Bodie having his reward and being able to play all the way back to the K-9 vehicle, it’s a win for both of us,” Duran said.

“The satisfaction of her finding something and getting her tug to play with, makes our day. That’s where we create that bond,” said Cordona.

By Lt. C. Avina

Learn more about CDCR’s K-9 programs.

Follow us on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.