An Oregon man was arrested Thursday during a traffic stop in Novato after one of the force's dogs detected drugs in the car, Novato police said Friday.
A traffic officer pulled over a car at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday near the junction of Ignacio Boulevard and Highway 101 because of a vehicle code violation, acting Lt. Jennifer Welch said. Metz, a police dog trained in narcotics detection, was brought into sniff out the vehicle and alerted officer/handler Jeff Ames of an odor of narcotics, according to a press release.
A search of the car revealed suspected methamphetamine in the glove compartment and suspected marijuana in the truck and passenger area.
Jason Lee Simpson, 29, of Myrtle Creek, Ore., was arrested at 6:45 p.m. and booked at Marin County Jail after being found to be under the influence of drugs. He faces two felony drug charges, two misdemeanor drug charges and one infraction for speeding. His bail was set at $15,000.
The Novato Police Department has three dogs in its canine program — Metz, Lex and Ingo. They are supported in part by a grassroots community group called Pennies for Police Dogs, which accepts donations at Circle Bank and the police station.
The dogs and their handlers are described as “police force multipliers” by Novato police because they enhance officer safety and pose a viable deterrent in dicey situations. Novato's dogs are used in searches all over Marin County and occasionally Sonoma County.
Chief Jim Berg said elimination of the canine patrols was discussed in 2009 when the most severe city budget cuts were made, but the Novato City Council veered away and made sacrifices elsewhere.