The Salt River Police Department is spotlighting the K9 Unit this month as a way to increase awareness for the individual divisions within the Police Department.
The Purpose of this article is to show how the Salt River Police Department utilizes the K9 Unit by providing the Community a clear understanding of the K9 Unit’s purpose, abilities, functions and responsibilities.
This Unit is made up of a Police Officer paired with an all-purpose canine trained and certified in Patrol and Narcotics Detection, also known as a Police Service Dog. The K-9 Unit’s primary mission is to locate individuals and items.
These items range from searches and pursuits of individuals to drug and narcotics and uses the dog’s ability to tracking air scents. The philosophy for the deployment of the K-9 Unit is to supplement patrol functions in specific scenarios where a Police Service Dog can be used in place of an additional Officer. They are also utilized for building searches including perimeter, point of entry, announcements and alerts pursuit of suspects to crimes, searching for individuals who are lost and to cover officers.
The benefits of the K-9 Unit for SRPD include the ability to increase officer safety while increasing the ability for the Police Department to track down illegal substances and removing them from the community.
Several important facts about our SRPD K-9 unit are, a dog has an olfactory ability that is up to 1 million times stronger than that of humans, and a dog has hearing that is approximately 15% greater than that of humans.
A dog has eyesight that is better adapted for movement and low light conditions, a dog does not have lachrymal glands (tear ducts), a dog can reach speeds up to 35 mph during deployment.
Officer D. Garcia has served SRPMIC for 15 and a half years and has been assigned with the canine unit as a narcotic dual purpose handler for 9 years with K9 Officer Hunter, who will be turning 11 years this coming March 3, 2013. “As a canine handler your position will require you to be on call any minute, from large building searches, narcotic sniff searches and tracking human scent from fleeing suspect or missing persons.
I believe the most rewarding part is being a canine handler with the part of praising your partner and seeing the excitement in his eyes along with his tail wriggling a hundred miles an hour and telling him how well of a job he did in either finding a hidden compartment or tracking a felon who fled from law enforcement officers and finding them shortly after.
It shows that if you put your heart and time into your canine partner training, you will always be successful like anything else if you put your mind into education or your job performance” said Officer D. Garcia