Police K9 Units

Paul Doddridge Cmdr. T. Fields Introduction to Law Enforcement 30 July 2011 New York Police K9 Units A police dog, often referred to as a K-9 dog in some areas is a dog that is trained specifically to assist police aand other law-enforcement personnel in their work. In many jurisdictions the intentional injuring or killing of a police dog is a felony subjecting the perpetrator to harsher penalties than those in the statutes embodied in local animal cruelty laws, just as an assault on a human police officer is often a more serious offense than the same assault on a non-officer.

A growing number of law-enforcement organizations outfit dogs with ballistic vests and some make the dog’s sworn officers, with their own police badges and IDs. Furthermore, a police dog killed in the line of duty is often given a full police funeral. In 1975, the New York State Police created the Division Canine Unit. These canines were purchased from the United States Army for the sum of $ 10,000. 00. The canines were put into service solely as explosives detection canines in preparation for the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York.

The Baltimore Police Department was chosen as the training agency. This agency possessed one of the largest canine units in the United States and they were experimenting with a new method of training that came to known as the “Baltimore Method”. The new method of training dictated that the canines be sociable, allowed to be in and around the general public, and reside in the handlers residence. Most canines up to this point were extremely aggressive and kenneled when not in use.

This method is still one of the most prevalent training methods in the United States. In 2000, the Canine Unit found a permanent home in Cooperstown, New York. The Canine Unit was provided with a state of the art training facility unmatched anywhere in the United States. The Facility is a 10,000 square foot colonial style structure set on approximately 2,000 acres of pristine countryside. The Facility can accommodate 15 students and staff and provides a Page 2 variety of training applications. The Facility additionally serves as a entral command center for the entire Canine Unit being centrally located in the State, and is open to all Police Agencies. The Training Facility has proven to be a tremendous asset to the Division of State Police and the Canine Unit. The Unit has grown from those original three explosives detection canines in 1978 to its current strength of sixty-six teams. There are currently thirty-one explosives detection canine teams, thirty-two narcotics detection canine teams, and three bloodhound teams. The bloodhound teams are utilized exclusively for tracking.

Of the thirty-two narcotics detection teams, sixteen are additionally trained in cadaver detection. Additionally, eleven of the explosives detection canine handlers are also serving on the Bomb Disposal Unit. The training program still follows the traditional Baltimore Method. However, in contrast to the first three canines, all canines are now generously donated to the Canine Unit through Humane Societies, private citizens, and breeders from all over the northeast at no cost to the Division of State Police.

These canines undergo a rigorous screening process which includes testing in: sociability, play drive, aggression, agility abilities, and state of the art medical screening. The department’s K9 teams provide a great service to the community, tracking missing persons, apprehending suspects and locating evidence. They allow patrol officers to work in a safer and more efficient manner and perform functions that human officers are simply unable to do.

For example officers searching a building without the benefit of a K9 team, will take much longer to perform the search and will be exposed to greater risk. Performing a building search with a K9 team will enable to the search to be performed in much less time, increasing efficiency freeing up officers for other calls and duties, and decreasing risk to officers. The K9 teams have tracked and located missing persons, apprehended dangerous suspects, and been responsible for the removal of a significant amount of illegal drugs and weapons from the community. http://www. winklerpost. com