News

Mountain View's night shift

Officer and her canine partner scour the streets for crime while residents sleep

Every week, K9 Officer Dorene Hansen hits the streets of Mountain View around the time that everyone else is headed to bed. Once her 5-year-old German shepherd, Odin, hops into the back seat of the police car, the crime-fighting duo gets rolling as they keep an eye out for anything suspicious until the sun comes up.

Hansen is one of two K9 officers at Mountain View Police Department, where she has been working for the for 23 years -- making her the most senior officer on the force. As a seasoned veteran, Hansen is one of several officers scanning city streets at night for what she calls "bad guys" committing crimes.

During a ride-along on Aug. 25, it was clear that Hansen doesn't wait around for crime reports to come in over the radio -- she takes a more proactive approach. Throughout the night, Hansen kept a close eye on the areas that attract criminal activity, like the 24-hour Walgreens at Grant Road and El Camino Real. She didn't hesitate to pull someone over for minor traffic offenses -- anything from a broken tail light to failing to stop at an intersection -- and it became clear why, when one of the traffic stops escalated into an arrest for suspected methamphetamine possession.

"It happens at least once a night," Hansen said, sealing the small bag of white crystals into the evidence locker. "It's all about being at the right place at the right time."

Hansen started working for the police department in 1993 as a community services officer, and got hired as a full-time officer in 1997. Much of her career has been as a K9 officer, working with a police dog named Larry before adopting Odin in 2013. Popping open the trunk of her police car in preparation for another night patrol, it looked certainly looked like the vehicle belonged to a dog owner -- inside were two giant dog bowls, and dozens of dog leash straps dangled from overhead.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

After building a strong relationship with Odin and going just about everywhere with him, Hansen taught him how to track down suspects and illicit drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine. Odin is not trained, however, to attack or take down anyone on the run.

"He can search for people or dope, but he can't apprehend suspects," she said.

Though Odin has assisted in plenty of impressive arrests -- one suspect even called him "awesome" after he was discovered during a pursuit in February 2014 -- all the credit went to Hansen during the ride along. During a casual conversation with another officer at the Mountain View Shopping Center, Hansen caught a glimpse of a bicyclist without a headlamp or rear reflector and, without hesitation, hopped into her car and pursued the rider.

During the traffic stop, Hansen said she carefully watched the way the suspect responded to her questions, and said it was clear to her that the man had drugs on him. Sure enough, a search of his backpack revealed a bag with roughly 2 grams of methamphetamine and a meth pipe wrapped in a paper towel.

Hansen has something of a reputation for the gift of gab and her ability to persuade suspects into 'fessing up to drug charges. In a 2014 interview with Hansen on the Mountain View Police Department podcast, Lt. Saul Jaeger called Hansen the "meth whisperer," and recalled one traffic stop where Hansen had determined the driver had drugs in the car within 30 seconds. She got the suspect to admit that "dope" was in the car, Jaeger said, and sure enough, there was methamphetamine inside.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

The power of persuasion could stem from Hansen's disarmingly nice attitude, which she said mostly plays to her advantage as a police officer, but occasionally gets interpreted as a sign of weakness. The conversation between her and the suspect, later identified as 20-year-old from Sunnyvale, was strangely cordial. She knew a little about him because of his past run-ins with the law, including that he has a newborn child, and offered him advice about getting clean and being a good father while they stood amid the flashing lights blazing from three police vehicles. Despite his past criminal charges and alleged gang involvement, Hansen said she believes he is a good kid who just needs to turn his life around.

After heading back to the department to file away the evidence, Hansen was ready to get back on the road and continue her proactive style of policing late into the night. She said other officers in her situation that night may have hesitated and let the bicyclist slide, but she is always ready to seize the opportunity.

"I want it," Hansen said. "I'm hungry for it."

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Mountain View's night shift

Officer and her canine partner scour the streets for crime while residents sleep

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 16, 2016, 9:20 am

Every week, K9 Officer Dorene Hansen hits the streets of Mountain View around the time that everyone else is headed to bed. Once her 5-year-old German shepherd, Odin, hops into the back seat of the police car, the crime-fighting duo gets rolling as they keep an eye out for anything suspicious until the sun comes up.

Hansen is one of two K9 officers at Mountain View Police Department, where she has been working for the for 23 years -- making her the most senior officer on the force. As a seasoned veteran, Hansen is one of several officers scanning city streets at night for what she calls "bad guys" committing crimes.

During a ride-along on Aug. 25, it was clear that Hansen doesn't wait around for crime reports to come in over the radio -- she takes a more proactive approach. Throughout the night, Hansen kept a close eye on the areas that attract criminal activity, like the 24-hour Walgreens at Grant Road and El Camino Real. She didn't hesitate to pull someone over for minor traffic offenses -- anything from a broken tail light to failing to stop at an intersection -- and it became clear why, when one of the traffic stops escalated into an arrest for suspected methamphetamine possession.

"It happens at least once a night," Hansen said, sealing the small bag of white crystals into the evidence locker. "It's all about being at the right place at the right time."

Hansen started working for the police department in 1993 as a community services officer, and got hired as a full-time officer in 1997. Much of her career has been as a K9 officer, working with a police dog named Larry before adopting Odin in 2013. Popping open the trunk of her police car in preparation for another night patrol, it looked certainly looked like the vehicle belonged to a dog owner -- inside were two giant dog bowls, and dozens of dog leash straps dangled from overhead.

After building a strong relationship with Odin and going just about everywhere with him, Hansen taught him how to track down suspects and illicit drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine. Odin is not trained, however, to attack or take down anyone on the run.

"He can search for people or dope, but he can't apprehend suspects," she said.

Though Odin has assisted in plenty of impressive arrests -- one suspect even called him "awesome" after he was discovered during a pursuit in February 2014 -- all the credit went to Hansen during the ride along. During a casual conversation with another officer at the Mountain View Shopping Center, Hansen caught a glimpse of a bicyclist without a headlamp or rear reflector and, without hesitation, hopped into her car and pursued the rider.

During the traffic stop, Hansen said she carefully watched the way the suspect responded to her questions, and said it was clear to her that the man had drugs on him. Sure enough, a search of his backpack revealed a bag with roughly 2 grams of methamphetamine and a meth pipe wrapped in a paper towel.

Hansen has something of a reputation for the gift of gab and her ability to persuade suspects into 'fessing up to drug charges. In a 2014 interview with Hansen on the Mountain View Police Department podcast, Lt. Saul Jaeger called Hansen the "meth whisperer," and recalled one traffic stop where Hansen had determined the driver had drugs in the car within 30 seconds. She got the suspect to admit that "dope" was in the car, Jaeger said, and sure enough, there was methamphetamine inside.

The power of persuasion could stem from Hansen's disarmingly nice attitude, which she said mostly plays to her advantage as a police officer, but occasionally gets interpreted as a sign of weakness. The conversation between her and the suspect, later identified as 20-year-old from Sunnyvale, was strangely cordial. She knew a little about him because of his past run-ins with the law, including that he has a newborn child, and offered him advice about getting clean and being a good father while they stood amid the flashing lights blazing from three police vehicles. Despite his past criminal charges and alleged gang involvement, Hansen said she believes he is a good kid who just needs to turn his life around.

After heading back to the department to file away the evidence, Hansen was ready to get back on the road and continue her proactive style of policing late into the night. She said other officers in her situation that night may have hesitated and let the bicyclist slide, but she is always ready to seize the opportunity.

"I want it," Hansen said. "I'm hungry for it."

Comments

Chris
St. Francis Acres
on Sep 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm
Chris, St. Francis Acres
on Sep 16, 2016 at 2:40 pm

We met Officer Hansen and Odin last month during National Night Out at Rengstorff Park. It was fun to hang out with them casually and chat under a shady tree. They make a dynamic duo - thank you (both) Officers for keeping our community safe and for caring about the safety and welfare of the MV community.


Nice
Bailey Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm
Nice, Bailey Park
on Sep 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

Nice local story. Nice to know there are dedicated officers patrol our streets at night.


Maher
Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm
Maher, Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 16, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Hansen is the cop I want handy when I need one. Smart humane and tough. Yup that's the combo best suited to "Serve and Protect".

BOYS! on the force... take note.

Gosh I'd love to do a ride along just once to experience being in that glass bubble with someone as skilled as this. I bet I'd learn a lot.


Need the same from the day shift
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm
Need the same from the day shift, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm

It's like shooting fish in a barrel when you're on the night shift. Usually just the bad guys are out there at that time. Meth busts in the dead of night? Shocking ;) Glad she's out there doing it though, that's for sure.


PH
another community
on Sep 16, 2016 at 9:02 pm
PH, another community
on Sep 16, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Saw her and her dog really hustling to help catch a criminal who was running through our neighborhood a few years ago. She seemed to be a little too old then for the effort she put in and some younger officers might not have been able to keep up. Hard work and dedication. Sounds like she's had a good career at the PD. Hope the years of retirement reward her for all the good work. I'm jealous that she gets to work with a dog all day. That's my type of working partner. Good luck in the future and thanks for your service Dorene!


Name hidden
another community

on Sep 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm
Name hidden, another community

on Sep 25, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.