Officer Spencer and Pete-LeRoy K9 Unit
Today, students learned that K-9 officers perform some of the same duties and tasks as standard police officers. They patrol the community to prevent and respond to crimes, perform investigations, locate and arrest perpetrators and guard prisoners. Some of the differences for canine officers come in the form of the care they give their K9 partners, including grooming, feeding and caring for their health.
Officer Spencer and his partner, Pete, demonstrated a vehicle search with a clean vehicle and with one where a drug scent ws detected. Pete was amazing and students were enthralled with the change in his behavior when he found something. After a very short search, Pete found a set of keys that had been randomly thrown in tall grass across the road from where students were standing and he found his tennis ball that had been hidden. The ball was hidden by one of our students and Pete followed that students scent until he found the ball.
Handlers must make sure that their dogs are obedient and follow commands both on and off of the leash, and that they are capable of performing a building search as well as a search for lost and missing persons and felons. Pete understands verbal commands given in three different languaged, German, Dutch, and English. In the event that a piece of evidence is lost, a K9 officer may work with the dog to search for it. Police dogs also protect officers from attacks, so they must be trained and handled to maintain the right level of aggression without becoming overly violent.
In addition to local police forces, K9's and their handlers are used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.