K9 Officers: More Than Meets the Nose
K9 officers are critical partners for police officers as they keep our communities safe. These highly-trained dogs use their noses, legs and even their teeth to help catch criminals and bust drug dealers. In fact, K9s are so important that they are actually considered officers. Whether they are German Shepherds, labradors or other breed of dog, K9 officers provide invaluable support to their human counterparts when it comes to serving and protecting our communities.
Here are a few of the top activities K9 officers participate in on a daily basis to assist their police handlers and ultimately keep all of us safe, and some of them may actually surprise you.
Public order enforcement
Generally speaking, K9s assist their handlers in maintaining public order. Let’s be honest, a police officer with a large K9 sniffing around can look intimidating. And in a sense, they should. The mere sight of a K9 Unit could help prevent bad actors from disrupting the public order, or worse. In many cases, K9s serve as a visual deterrent to potential criminals who would disrupt the peace.
Chase and Takedown
K9 units are invaluable partners to police officers when it comes to tracking, chasing and taking down criminals in hiding or on the run. These incredibly intelligent and athletic dogs will stop at absolutely nothing to apprehend criminals at the behest of their handlers. Any criminal thinking of running from a K9 is in for a rude and painful awakening because a K9 commanded by its handler to track, chase and takedown a criminal in hiding or on the run will not stop until their job is done. In short, it’s just not a good idea to get on the wrong side of a police K9 unit.
K9s also use their incredible tracking abilities to sniff out drugs, weapons and even deceased bodies. Just give them the scent, and if the target is anywhere nearby, it will be found. There is simply no fooling the keen nose of a highly trained K9.
Therapy K9 Programs
You read that correctly. Some police departments are actually implementing K9 therapy programs in their municipalities to enhance community engagement. The Franklin County, Ohio Sheriff’s Department is one such agency that has recently established a therapy K9 program. Their program focuses on child welfare and mental health in particular. Data from their newly established program indicated that, “90% of the children reported an increase in mood when dogs were present, 100% of clients felt the dog’s presence was helpful and 100% of clients reported a decrease in the overall SUDs (subjective units of distress scale) ratings of the children.” And not only does the program benefit the children who participate in it, it has also helped the relationship between law enforcement and the community as a whole.
As you can see, K9s are incredibly valuable to public safety and the relationship between departments and the citizens they serve. So the next time you see a K9 officer, remember everything that incredible animal does to keep you and your community safe. Because they are so much more than dogs. These K9s are our four-legged hometown heros.
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