Contact Information: 

Marisela Santana

Public Information Officer

City of Lynwood, Public Relations Department

Office:  (310) 603-0220 ext. 502  



7-year-old Emily LandaVerde

Names City of Lynwood’s New K-9 Unit:

Meet “Max(imus)”


LYNWOOD, CA – At the request of the Lynwood City Council, the Century Sheriff’s Station’s K-9 Deputy Paul Merino recently acquired a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, especially trained in locating guns and ammunition. The City has never had two K-9 Units.


Merino introduced the new K-9 to the community during the City’s recent National Night Out block party, where he invited passers-by to meet and greet the City’s new K-9 Unit and enter a contest to name him.


With over 100 entries received by the City of Lynwood, Merino selected 7-year-old Emily LandaVerde’s suggestion to name the new K-9 Unit, “Max.”


Max, short for Maximus, Deputy Merino’s favorite movie character from the film, “Gladiator,” joins his co-K-9 Unit, Justice, another Belgian Malinois, assigned to Merino – which specializes in identifying narcotics.


Merino said he chose Max from the vendor, not only because of his friendly social behavior, but because of his excellent drive to find what he was ordered to find.


“All of the dogs I had to pick from were friendly dogs, but the others gave up in their search for the ball during training, but not Max, he didn’t give up,” Merino said. “He didn’t stop searching until he found the ball. That’s what convinced me, so I brought him home.”


Merino describes the 3-year-old Justice as a bit mischievous. She tends to want to do what she wants to do, joked Merino. “But Max, he’s very loyal. He doesn’t do anything unless he Oks it by me first. Whatever he does, he will look at me first for permission.”


Despite their different personalities, both K-9 Units are very good at what they do and serve the City of Lynwood and its residents well, Merino said.


Max is often called upon by the Sheriff’s Station’s COPS Team, by the Gang Unit and even by the Narcotics Unit when they need assistance.


Emily’s father, Danilo LandaVerde, said that his daughter fell in love with Merino’s new K-9 Unit at National Night Out. It was the first booth she wanted to go to, he said. “Every year, we look forward to National Night Out, we enjoy the helicopter landing,” he said. “But this year, the dog had her attention the entire time. If she won, she figured she would only be naming the dog, but she didn’t know she was going to win a prize.”


Little did she know that Merino was going to pick her submission to name the K-9 Unit, Max. Even more surprised was her 7-year-old face when the Century Sheriff’s Station presented her with a 26-inch flat-screen television during the Oct. 16 City Council meeting as the grand prize for her entry being selected by Merino.


“She was so excited when we got the call that her entry had been selected,” said her father. “She spent all night trying to figure out what she was going to wear to the City Council meeting, and she couldn’t wait to see the dog again.”


Merino said that Max responds well to his new name, even though once in a while he wants to call him Maximus.


Though he’s still a puppy and wants to play, at the start of the new year, Merino will be introducing Max to schools in the Lynwood Unified School District, either as show and tell at the primary schools, or for actual searches at the secondary school level.



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