Police Department introduces its newest member

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Lieutenant Jeff Calvert (L), canine handler Officer Zach Fillers and Sergeant Eric Lee of the LBPD welcomed “Ranger” (front!) to their ranks in Riverside recently 

The Laguna Beach Police Department recently welcomed a new four-legged member to its ranks. On Oct. 31, Lieutenant Jeff Calvert, Sergeant Eric Lee and new canine handler Officer Zach Fillers went to Adlerhorst International in Riverside and recruited “Ranger,” a two-year old Belgium Malinois, to become the newest member of the department. Ranger was named in honor of Officer Jon Coutchie who lost his life in the line of duty on September 21, 2013 and served four years as an Army Ranger prior to becoming a Laguna Beach Police Officer.

Officer Fillers was chosen to be Ranger’s handler and partner following a competitive selections process. Officer Fillers has been a Laguna Beach Police Officer since January 2011 and holds a Bachelor’s degree in criminology from UC Irvine. It has been a childhood dream of Officer Fillers to become a police canine handler, so he did extensive research and enrolled in several different schools on his own time to prepare himself for the position. 

Officer Fillers and Ranger will begin a rigorous 6-week training program at Adlerhorst International starting on Nov. 10.  

“The initial course will focus on training Ranger to conduct building searches, apprehend fleeing felons and/or assist in overcoming the resistance of a violent subject, which will reduce the overall risk and injury to police officers and the community,” said Lieutenant Calvert. 

Simultaneously, they will teach Officer Fillers about the proper and legal deployment of Ranger based on current case law, sound judgment and working within the Use of Force policy at Laguna Beach Police Department. 

Sergeant Lee will be Officer Fillers and Ranger’s direct supervisor so he will be attending the first week of the school to learn about his responsibilities in overseeing this important program. Following the initial six-week course Officer Fillers will return and begin acclimating Ranger with his coworkers and shift work.  

Once Officer Fillers is comfortable with Ranger they will be sent to an additional five-week narcotic detection school. Ranger will be cross-trained in apprehension, narcotic detection and tracking of suspects and missing persons. 

Officer Fillers and Ranger will primarily be working during the evening but expect to see the duo out in the community introducing themselves. Ranger will be residing in Southern Orange County with Officer Fillers and his wife. 

This has been a community effort to return this worthwhile program back to the Laguna Beach Police Department and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the City Council and the assistance of Cheryl Kinsman and the Woman’s Club.    

At the Nov.18, City Council meeting, Ranger will make his first public appearance when he will be introduced to the City Council and the community. For further information, contact Lieutenant Calvert at 464-6655 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..