For some police officers, their dog will be as important to them as a partner and this is how they are often seen. The dog will have been trained to carry out various aspects of police work and in many cases will be killed while protecting their handler. Commonly known as K-9 – a shortened version of canine – the dogs make the job so much easier for the officers and many keep the animal when it is retired from the force. Killing a police dog will be treated as a felony such is the esteem in which the dogs are held.
Breeds to be Trained
The most common dog that is used is a German Shepherd, although there are others depending on the duties required. The Belgian Malinois is quickly becoming popular and both breeds are very easy to train. While these two are by far the most popular there have also been Doberman Pinschers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Giant Schnauzers and American Pit Bull Terriers enrolled. Enrollment is a suitable term as they are sometimes given badges and ballistic vests along with a police funeral if they are killed. If it appears they are in danger it is acceptable for the handler to shoot the person threatening the dog.
Duties of A Police Dog
There is a wide range of duties handed out to police dogs and some are more dangerous than others. For the ones carrying out search and rescue, there is not always danger and it will be bloodhounds that are given this job. Drugs searches will need a dog with a good nose and again there can be bloodhounds used although beagles are also a popular choice here. Few people will be as wary of a beagle as they would of a German Shepherd. Most of the duties they carry out will be given to them due to their superior sense of smell. While some are not too bad the cadaver dogs will probably have one of the worst jobs as their findings will not be pleasant. It would however be worse if the body was left until a human could smell the body. The most dangerous job will be sniffing out explosives
The idea of police dogs purely as attack dogs is not accurate although they will have been trained to protect their handler. It is not that often that the dogs are seen on patrol, but they are often seen at airports and the borders. Few forces across the country will completely neglect the dog division even if they only have the one dog. The bigger areas will have dozens to train and support but their work is vital.
Dogs In Prison
It is prisoners who will get to see police dogs the most. Training for this will not only be drug detection but help when there are fights and riots. Riots may be quite rare but fights are regular so the larger dogs will be required. Bloodhounds are often employed as well as they can help search for missing prisoners.
Jason Penn is the author of this article. He is a freelance writer who writes articles on various issues that are close to his heart. He recently did an excellent piece on police gear and its life saving benefits.