The City Council has approved the addition of a dog to the police force to make narcotic searches quicker and easier.
Police officials say a dog can search an area in half the time it would take five officers and can uncover hidden narcotics that would otherwise go undetected by humans.
"To speed our job up, to make us more efficient, we feel we need this additional tool," Cmdr. Gary Biggerstaff told the council, which approved the plan unanimously.
The dog will be assigned to an officer and will live in that officer's home. Police dogs usually work five to eight years.
The dog will be able to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines. Biggerstaff said that neighboring agencies could also use the dog.
The Rotary Club of Los Alamitos will donate up to $6,000 for purchase and training costs and an additional $1,000 each year for food and medical expenses. The dog will go through about four months of training.
The Police Department will also provide $1,000 for travel expenses and up to $1,000 more to purchase a dog house and other equipment.
Narcotics officers have been borrowing dogs from other departments for the searches, but Biggerstaff said that those dogs were sometimes difficult to get because they were in such demand.