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September 2, 2014

Keyes woman donates $7,500 to Atwater police for new K-9

A Keyes woman made a donation to the Atwater Police Department on Monday to purchase another police dog after she said an officer impressed her at an event over the weekend.

A Keyes woman made a donation to the Atwater Police Department on Monday for the purchase of another police dog after one of its officers and his K-9 partner impressed her at an event during the weekend.

Lupe Matlock, 44, donated $7,500 to the Police Department after seeing K-9 unit demonstrations at Castle Air Museum’s Open Cockpit Day on Sunday.

The mother of three said her 13-year-old daughter wants to be a police officer, which inspires the family to attend various events and speak to officers. Often the officers don’t take the time to answer questions, Matlock said, but that was not the case in Atwater.

“When we have gone to a lot of shows, and we ask the police officers questions, they hurry up and try to push you away, but Officer (Robert) Vargas didn’t,” Matlock said. “He responded to everything we asked, and he didn’t rush off. He stood there and answered all our questions.”

Vargas was conducting search demonstrations using the Police Department’s K-9, Nero. Matlock was so impressed by the police dog and Vargas’ attitude that she made the donation the next day.

“These guys stepped up and a police department like that deserves it,” she said. “(Vargas) showed compassion and he actually cared about the dogs.”

Matlock said she visits Atwater at least twice a month to see her best friend. The money she donated could have been used for a family vacation, but after discussing it with her husband and children, she said they decided to give it to the Police Department.

“My kids have never been to Disneyland, but it can wait another year,” Matlock said.

Vargas said the Police Department will use the money to purchase another K-9, pending approval from the City Council. The current police dog has been on the force about a year and has helped apprehend 78 suspects and locate 2 pounds of different types of narcotics.

“We used him to apprehend a suspect on Friday night that fled from officers and hid,” Vargas said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have been able to locate the suspect and he would have gotten away.”

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