A k-9 Police Officer is an officer who works with a Police Dog as a "partner". The officer and his/her dog work together as a team to complete a job or task.
Typically, Police Departments use German Shepherds as they are excellent at tracking and are strong and very intelligent.
Because of their intelligence, they can be trained for multiple tasks.
German Shepherds can also be VERY intimidating. Their bark is loud, their snarl is scary, and their bite...well, for your sake I hope you never experience that.
Often times, the team works to track a suspect who has fled the scene of a crime.
Now, let's talk about how a k-9 police officer typically gets involved with a call.
Usually, a police officer on patrol gets assigned to a call, let's say for example, a burglary. The officer gets on scene to discover that the suspect has just taken off on foot. The officer may elect to call a k-9 unit for assistance.
The dispatcher will contact the k-9 unit and assign the team to the call.
When the k-9 police officer arrives, he and his dog track the suspect from the scene.
When a suspect has committed a crime and running from a scene, their levels of stress are higher than normal, making it easier for the dog to track through scent. (Dogs have a very good sense of smell- much higher than that of a human. It's believed over fifty times better)
Normally, when the dog locates the suspect it signals to it's handler and it starts barking and going bananas.
Usually this is enough to get the bad guy to give up and obey any orders that he is given by the officer. Most people know that if the dog is released, they're in for a bad time and they won't even chance it.
Of course, every once in a while, someone will try it. Take a look at the video below:
I'm not sure where the next video is from. I believe it's somewhere in France as they are definitely speaking French. It's a clip of dogs in training. If anyone knows with certainty where this is from, would you mind shooting me an email please- firstname.lastname@example.org
Not all k-9 dogs are used just for tracking suspects. There are dogs that are specially trained for other jobs.
A drug detection dog is used for locating quantities of drugs that have been hidden away. These dogs are trained to associate the smell of whatever drug they are searching for to a "reward" which can be a chew toy or towel. When they find the drugs, they are allowed to play with the toy.
There are also dogs which are used to locate weapons such as firearms and explosives. These dogs are often called out when it is believed that a suspect has tossed a weapon while fleeing the
Perhaps the route is too large for a search by officers, and the gun dog gets called in to help.
Anyone interested in becoming a k-9 Police Officer normally has to agree to certain conditions.
First, they must agree to remain in the k-9 unit for a certain specified amount of time as the training that they go through is very specialized. Training an officer for k-9, then having him or her transfer out 6 months later is just not acceptable.
Secondly, they must also agree to take care of their assigned dog. They take the dog home and take care of it off duty.
Because of this, being a k-9 officer is a major commitment, and the men and women who are in this unit are always major dog lovers.