‘Dog’gone hard-working LBPD detectives become face of nonprofit fundraising effort

LB Police Historical Society raising money for museum.

There are two members of the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) Drug Investigations Section that are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their names are Abby and Ozzy, and they have recovered a combined total of more than $25 million in U.S. currency and narcotics in their time with the LBPD, according to officials.

Sgt. Timothy Long told the Signal Tribune Oct. 3 that these two hard-working detectives are motivated solely by the promise of a tennis ball after a long day’s work. That’s because Abby and Obby are dogs– K-9 detectives– who have been with the department for six and five years, respectively.

“Both continually train with their handlers daily working for the reward of a tennis ball,” Long said. “Both K-9 detectives respond in state-of-the-art K-9 police vehicles, equipping them with comfort and emergency evacuation alarms meant to protect each K-9 in the event of a vehicle emergency. They can travel by air, land or sea, providing their skills to any law-enforcement, narcotics-related detection needed. They have big hearts, love people and will play if their handler doesn’t put them to work when on scene.”

Courtesy LB Police Historical Society
Pictured, from left: Detectuve Luis Rodriguez with Abby and Detective
Chris Thue with Ozzy

Aside from their significant commitment to the LBPD, Abby and Ozzy have recently entered the local spotlight of the Long Beach Police Historical Society (LBPHS), a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation and sharing of LBPD artifacts, memorabilia and history. A press release from the organization indicated that the two dogs have been memorialized as stuffed animals in order to be sold at $20 each for a fundraiser to help the group work toward creating a museum to display the artifacts.

Cmdr. Mike Lewis, executive director of the LBPHS, told the Signal Tribune by telephone Sept. 26 that approximately 400 of the stuffed Abbys and Ozzys have been sold so far, approaching the initial goal of selling 500.

“As soon as you pick one up, you want to buy one,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the organization will ultimately have either an online museum or a brick-and-mortar space to showcase all of the artifacts after approximately 15 years of gathering items and working toward the goal of having a museum. Lewis also said the stuffed dogs are being brought out to community events for sale and promotion for the cause.

Detective Chris Thue of the Long Beach Drug Investigations Sections has worked as Ozzy’s handler for the last five years. Thue told the Signal Tribune by email Oct. 3 that Ozzy is approximately 5 and a half years old and was born in Mexico.

“Ozzy is half Belgium Malinois and half German Shepard,” Thue said. “Ozzy is trained to detect the odor of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. Once I was given the Ozzy, I went through six weeks of training with Ozzy and then was certified. Since then, Ozzy and I have certified every year. Ozzy and I have assisted the FBI, DEA, HSI, Postal Inspectors, LA Impact, LA BEST, Coast Guard, TSA, ATF and numerous other local agencies with investigations that led to small and large seizures.”

Abby’s handler is Detective Luis Rodriguez, who said Abby has assisted in more than 500 investigations, resulting in the seizure of more than 5,000 pounds of controlled substances.

“Abby works undercover and long hours for the opportunity to locate her ball (her reward for finding the scent of controlled substance),” Rodriguez said via email. “Abby is trained in the detection of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. Abby continues to work for the LBPD and assist neighboring agencies, including federal entities when requested. She has participated in searching large-crew cruise ships, international cargo-container ships, buses, airplanes of all sizes and various properties throughout the state. To date, Abby does not eat treats, maintains a strict diet and exercise regimen to remain in top shape to be able to assist when called upon.”

Rodriguez also said Abby is the longest tenured and active K-9 on duty.
Both handlers said their dogs are continually training and renewing their certifications in order to continue to be strong and effective contributors to their department.

The stuffed dogs are available for purchase in person at the Signal Tribune newspaper office, 1399E. 28th St., Signal Hill, Calif. 90755. Cash or checks only. Checks to be made out to the Long Beach Police Historical Society. Call (562) 595-7900 for details.