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MERCED COUNTY, CA – MCNTV News received a tip from a couple of our many viewers at the Big Reno Gun Show this weekend, that for some reason two Merced County Sheriff’s vehicles were parked in the lot of the Grand Sierra Resort located at 2500 E Second in Reno, Nevada. One of them sent a couple of photos as actual proof with a message asking why were the Merced County Sheriffs there and if they weren’t sure if was a good way to spend our tax dollars.

After reviewing the photos you can clearly see that in fact there two Merced County Sheriffs vehicles parked int he lot of what appears to be the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. So just why were those two or possibly more deputies at a gun show? In Reno, Nevada?? Something wasn’t right and there’s only one man who had the answers, Sheriff Vern Warnke.

You see my friends back in the day, Merced County and Merced City vehicles were used by a variety or people for a variety of reasons and many just happened to be personal. In fact personal use of a 2005 Ford Expedition that was purchased by Merced County is what brought down the Merced County DA Gordon Spencer in 2006. The SUV was purchased through a grant and were considered restricted funds, meaning the funding comes with restrictions or is very specific as to how the funds can be used. In the case of the grant funds for the SUV the vehicle was only to be used by a special rural crimes deputy within the District Attorney’s Office named Larry D. Morse. Instead, DA Spencer used it for his own personal and business trips and gave the deputy DA Morse a used Crown Victoria. DA Spencer also received a $700 monthly vehicle reimbursement for using his personal vehicle although he was not using his personal vehicle. But we are happy to report, our Sheriff and his new department are on the up and up.

K9TacOps_016 (1)“We have two deputies out on a five-week training and certification program,” confirmed Sheriff Vern Warnke to MCNTV News. “They are two new K9 Officers and two new K9′.”

But did you have to send them to Reno, Nevada?

“Yes,” the Sheriff said, “If I could send them to someplace closer that provides these new Officers and their K9′ the training and certification needed to get them on the streets and going after the bad people sooner I would. But this is very specific training and certification that is also time sensitive.”

The Sheriff went on to clarify that the K9′ were given to the deputies a month ago to bond with them and their families before all four were sent to training and certification together. They use the patrol vehicles because they are designed for the dogs to travel in safe and comfortably. He also wanted to assure the public that the department has the coverage to provide for the public’s safety including other K9′.

“We’re going after the bad people and these two new K9 units are really going to help,” the Sheriff said.

The school the Sheriff is talking about is called Canine Tactical Operations S.K.I.D.D.S. CATS. According to their website at, S.K.I.D.D.S. and CATS is a unique and one-of-a-kind K9 and K9 SWAT school. S.K.I.D.D.S. and CATS is designed to educate and train both canine handlers, SWAT and Tactical Teams on the deployment of police dogs in a SWAT Operation. During S.K.I.D.D.S. and CATS (officers) will participate in numerous stealth entries, live gunfire and simmunition scenarios. Teams will learn the latest canine searching methods, deployment and arrest techniques.

Since the first S.K.I.D.D.S and CATS course in 1997 over 500 departments from 38 different states and 4 countries have sent over 4,000 hundred SWAT and canine officers through S.K.I.D.D.S. and CATSK9TacOps_049 (1)

California agencies who have attended S.K.I.D.D.S. & CATS:
Alameda County, Anaheim, Amador Co SD, Banning, Benicia, Brea, Beverly Hills, Cathedral City, Carlsbad, Chico, Chino, CHP, Culver City, Concord, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Daly City, El Monte, Escondido, El Segundo, Elk Grove, Fresno, Fresno County Sheriff’s, Fremont, Folsom, Fullerton, Gardena, Gilroy, Glendora, Hawthorne, Huntington Beach, Indio, Irvine, Kings Co, Lompac, Los Angeles County SD, Lodi, Los Angeles Housing Authority, Livermore, Merced Co, Newark, Newport Beach, Oakland, Oceanside, Ontario, Orange Co SD, Oxnard, Pacifica, Palm Springs, Pinole, Placentia, Placerville, Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, Pomona, Rialto, Riverside, Roseville, San Bernardino, Salinas, San Diego, Santa Cruz Co, Santa Monica, Stockon, Santa Ana, Shafter, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Simi Valley, Sunnyvale, Sacramento Co SD, Sacramento PD, Solano, Torrance, Tustin, USBP Bortac, Walnut Creek and West Covina.

Out of State and Country SWAT and K9 handlers from:
Arizona; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Kansas; Louisiana, Maryland; Maine; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada; New Mexico; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island, South Carolina; South Dakota; Texas; Utah, Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Washington State; Washington, DC, Australia, Brazil, Canada,  and Costa Rica.

So nothing to worry about good citizens of Merced County! Our Sheriff is working hard to live up to his and the department’s commitment to go after the bad people making Merced County a safe place for hard-working families and young aspiring professionals to live and proudly call home again.

Stay tuned for the names of the new K9 deputies and their new K9 partners…



  1. If theyre getting their training done, why go to a gun show? Shouldn’t they be using their private vehicles for this?

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