Last May Chaplain Robert Duvall and his K-9 service dog Kepi announced their retirement from the Winters Public Safety Crises Intervention Team where for over six years they volunteered and provided police, fire and community support.
In Duvall and Kepi’s case, their retirement from public service didn’t last long and they created a GoFundMe campaign last week in effort to raise $20,000 to purchase and equip a K-9 vehicle.
“We currently work for the Vacaville Fire Protection District, again as volunteers and respond to any agency in Solano County,” Duvall wrote on the campaign page. “I’ve often been asked why I do this type of work. The simple answer is that I have a passion for helping others. That’s why I chose a career in Public Safety,” he added.
After a distinguished career in Public Safety that included stints as a police officer, deputy sheriff, deputy coroner, flight medic and supervisory paramedic, Duvall retired in 2011 due to a medical condition.
In 2013, Duvall was ordained as a law enforcement chaplain and in 2015, along with the Winters Police Department, he co-created the Winters Public Safety Crises Intervention Team and in that same year, Duvall was given a service dog, Kepi.
For years, Duvall and Kepi were welcomed figures around Winters, both as stewards of the community and in service to first responders. Kepi was trained to detect stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD
and they responded to hundreds of calls to support police, fire, family and community members.
Those interested in donating to the campaign to help Duvall and Kepi continue their volunteer efforts can do so by visiting https://tinyurl.com/4ksmsvf3.
Winters Fire Chief Brad L. Lopez said Duvall has been a valuable resource, not only to the fire and police departments, but also to the community.
Lopez stated that one of Duvall’s greatest qualities is”his ability to connect with and understand the needs of first responders.” As for Kepi, he said she is a “great dog” and adds another layer of calm to staff during critical incidents.
Winters Police Chief John P. Miller added, “the Winters Police Department is very proud to have sponsored the Crisis Intervention Team.”
Its use of K-9 Kepi’s unique training was the very first of its kind in the United States to be sponsored by a law enforcement agency.
Since inception of the program, Duvall and Kepi have received many noteworthy awards and commendations, such as the “City of Winters Police Lifesaver Award” and Kaiser Foundation’s “First Responder of the Year” in 2019.