Dogs provide us with love, protection, loyalty, and compassion. While many of us count on these cute companions to greet us happily after we return home from putting in a hard day at work, they can play a much more vital role in our communities. Dogs working in the K-9 unit with officers provide protection and much needed service to us all.
Not a Dachshund
The most common dog used by the K-9 unit is the Belgian Malinois. This breed, which is smaller than other breeds used in law enforcement, is highly athletic, less likely to develop health issues, and very adaptable to different environments. These canines come from Holland and are certified by the Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, which for those of you who are not fluent in Dutch, is referred to by its acronym: KNPV. This translates to Royal Dutch Police Dog Association. These dogs are usually trained from the age of six and tested on their obedience. Once in Chandler, the dogs will either be introduced to explosive or narcotic odors. Each dog goes through 340 hours of training with its respective handler.
A (Police) Man’s Best Friend
While the Tom Hanks film Turner and Hooch gives a perfectly awful vision of what officer and dog pairing looks like, the reality is that the relationship between a K-9 dog and his handler is a unique and special one, formed through hours of hard work and quality time together. Because the dog both works with and resides with its handler, the dog becomes a part of the handler’s family. With this much time together, the two learn about each other, which increases their functionality as a K-9 team.
A Community’s Best Friend
The service that these dogs provide for the community is unmatched. Their keen sense of smell, natural bravery, and intense loyalty allows them to detect dangerous items and protect residents from possible harm. These canines can locate offenders and protect officers who need to apprehend suspects. Sergeant Daniel Mejia with the Chandler Police Department explains,
“The K-9 teams are very important to the police department since they provide assistance to other officers. The dogs are primarily used as a locating tool.”
The dog’s ability to locate items quickly with their strong sense of smell and impressive night vision decreases the time and resources that can be needed to search large areas for articles of evidence. Also, having dogs go into areas of greater risk protects the officers and the lives of the public.
The dogs also play an important role in educating the public and bridging any gaps between the police and its community.
“We use our dogs for demonstrations at schools, community events, scout troops and other public events,” Mejia states. “They are great at bridging the gap between the community and the police department.”
Bronco and Berner
One of these dynamic duos protecting the community is Officer Berner and Bronco. The two paired up back in 2015 when they were certified in patrol and narcotic detection. Together they respond to calls for service, such as possible burglaries in progress, as well as assistance in narcotics detection. Bronco is trained to detect four major narcotics: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana. Together, they have located narcotics on traffic stops.
The loyalty and protection of a dog cannot be topped and we are lucky to have them looking after us humans. If you would like to know more about Chandler Police Department’s K-9 unit, please visit ChandlerPD.com.