“So long as brooks flow seaward, like the shadows
Play over mountain slopes, and highest heaven
Feeds the stars, your name and your distinction
Go with me, whatever lands may call me.”
(Virgil. The Aeneid. Bk I. 827-830)
A strong bond of friendship, loyalty, and love exists between the Police Officer and the Police Dog. In time of need, to protect the officer, a Police Dog will not consider the extent of injury he will receive or if he will survive through to see the success. He follows the command of his Handler without his own judgement. Nothing lives forever, not even the brave, but these Police Dogs with their normal behavior leave a mark of distinction behind them. Compromise on bravery and morals is not part of their training. Often we have seen tears in the eyes of the Police Officer when his Dog is hurt, so strong is the bond between them.
A Police dog, often called a “K-9” is a dog that is trained specifically to give help to Police and other law-enforcement staff in their work. German shepherd is the most commonly used breed. Intentional injuring or killing a Police dog is a very serious offense
in many jurisdictions. Most of these trained dogs wear ballistic vests, are sworn officers, with their own Police badges and ID’s.
Some breeds of dogs are used to keep up public order. German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are most commonly used for this purpose. Some other breeds which are used for the same purpose include Dutch Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boxers, Doberman Pincers, Giant Schnauzer, American Pit Bull terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers. These dogs are trained to chase and hold the suspects by a method known as Bark and Hold. The law enforcement agencies use different breeds of dogs to do varied roles:
- Bloodhounds are mostly used for locating suspects or for finding missing people or objects. Theses are called SAR (search and rescue dogs). They are also used for locating odor-specific ID, tracking, sniffing out bombs, drugs and locating evidence
- Beagles are used in airports as detection dogs or explosive sniffing dogs. These dogs detect illicit substances such as drugs and explosives, and sniff the baggage for items that are not permitted.
- German Shepherds are attack dogs. They protect the officer and do ground based tracking as well as air based tracking. They find human remains, drugs, IED’s, and are trained to find evidence.
- Labrador Retrievers sniff out bombs and drugs.
- Bernese Mountain Dogs find missing people.
- Argentine Dogo‘s sniff out bombs, drugs, and food.
- Belgian Malinois are trained to find IED’s, find evidence, drugs, prisoner transport, and human tracking.
- Dutch Shepherd, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Rottweiler, Giant Schnauzer are trained as attack dogs who also protect the Police Officer.
Police Dogs are retired if they become injured to an extent where they will not recover completely, are pregnant, are raising puppies, or are too old to continue to work.
Police Dogs of Canine subway transit unit are trained in a very special way. They work in challenging deep environment where multitude of humanity passes through the transit. The Police Officer
does not know who is the target and who is the terrorist. They work deep underground where crime can unfold in a heartbeat. Millions of people pass through transit. The labyrinth of concrete and steel can prove to be a hostile underworld. The serious issues are the stairs, slippery floors, loud noise of the trains, and massive amount of people who pass through the subway. These dogs are trained to filter out the other distractions of their extreme environment, and stay on point. If a call comes in that a robbery is in progress, the Police Officer and his dog are the first to respond. A German Shepherd can bite down with 240 lbs of pressure. With training their grip and confidence increases.
Police Dogs need to have a lot of confidence and the Police Officer in charge does everything to boast up that confidence. The Officers make sure that the dogs believe that they will win in the adverse situation. In every training exercise the confidence of the Dog is built up.
The worst dilemma of a Police Officer is to know that he can put the dog in a situation where he can be killed. For all Police Officers it is the hardest thing to do. Police dogs are the vital tools for the Police department and the Police Officers know that no matter how much they love their dogs, and train with them every single day, but their main job is to get the criminal. These Police Dogs can take down armed men without any hesitation and hence can lose their life in a moment. They are never afraid so they are always brave. Owing to their training, these Police Dogs never fail in their purpose and duty.
If the Police Dogs are killed in the line of duty they get the same honors as their human partners. Their handlers make all the decisions about their most loyal and loved partners.
- Parolee Allegedly Throws Police Dog Out Window (ktla.com)
- Boots help police dogs get a grip on street crime (thetimes.co.uk)
- Editorial: Police dog-handling training will help officers – and dogs (denverpost.com)
- Helena police officer, dog partner retire together (missoulian.com)
© Samina Iqbal. 2013