As I researched the inner workings of K9 units for my latest novel Silent Partner, I realized that every police K9 officer I met (both active duty and retired) couldn’t express enough how rewarding the job was for them. I find myself taking a second glance whenever I would see a police car that has the imprinted words, K9 Unit – Stay Back, next the back window. I wondered if they were on a call to find a bad guy that tried to slip away, sniff out some drugs, or offer some back up for a fellow officer.
I’ve always loved dogs, but I’ve never been given the opportunity to see working dogs up close and personal. I learned about the strong bond of dog and handler. I watched officers paired with dogs by the master dog trainers. It was interesting to see the different personalities of both dogs and police officers and how they worked into a strong team. Police protection and scent detection dogs can vary in breeds from German shepherds and Belgian Malinois to Labrador retrievers and Rottweilers.
Upon successful completion of training and certification, K9 officers are given their new assignments. Most departments have the dogs live with their assigned handlers and they are required to train approximately four hours a week. Training consists of tracking, building search, field search, handler protection, and physical apprehension according to USPCA (United States Police Canine Association) standards.
K9 units serve patrol functions and scent detection (narcotics, bomb, cadaver, or accelerant) – sometimes dogs are cross-trained. Most common calls for K9 units are crimes in progress, burglary and robbery alarm calls, prowler calls, street fights, and narcotic detection. These specialized law enforcement units work for city police, county sheriffs, state police, and with federal law enforcement agencies patrolling airports, seaports, and our borders with Mexico and Canada. Officers and dogs alike receive specialized law enforcement training.
Check out my latest crime fiction thriller, Silent Partner, and meet Deputy K9 Jack Davis and his trusted four-legged partner Keno. I take readers into the working life of a K9 officer who’s caught in the middle of a web of lies and on the trail of a serial killer. Get to know the cops who are backed up by their silent partners and find out their stories. Please feel free to leave comments and reviews.