K - 9
Working with Canines
Over the years man has relied on canines for their work ethic, courage, companionship, and their acute sense of smell. A dog's nose is their most advanced sense and is estimated to be one million times greater than a human's scent capability.
Sense of Smell
Police canines use their acute sense of smell to locate suspects or narcotics in any type of hiding spot. This ability affords officers a safer tool in apprehending suspects and locating illicit narcotics. Canines are without a doubt, one of the agency's finest crime fighting assets.
Establishment of K - 9 Unit
Since 1982, the Pinellas Park Police Department's K-9 Unit has provided a number of invaluable support services to the agency's mission. Assigned to the Special Operations Section, the agency currently employs three canine teams; Corporal Ducheney and K9 Kojak, Officer Williams and K9 Mavirk, and Officer Naumann and K9 Merlin.
Imported from Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands, the working canines are paired with a handler and sent to a seventeen week canine patrol school.
Upon graduation, the canine team is assigned to assist the Patrol Division with calls for service such as:
- Burglary, robbery or other in progress crimes
- A crime where a subject has fled from the scene on foot
- A large, unruly crowds of people where the dog can provide protection for officers
- A lost or missing person or child
- An open door or open window on a building necessitating a building search
- Situations where large areas need to be searched for evidence or contraband
Narcotics Detection School
The canines are "cross-trained" or dual certified to perform patrol functions and narcotics detection. After completing an eight week narcotics detection school, the canine teams can assist Patrol with narcotics searches and the Vice/ Narcotics Division with search warrants, narcotics searches, and currency exams.
Life of a Working Dog
The canine teams devote over forty hours a month to advanced patrol and drug detection training, and practice fundamental and scenario based exercises.
The working dogs are also on a strict diet and their health is monitored closely by the handler and the department's veterinarian. The police canines also live with the handler and their families.
Transportation & Protection
Specially equipped with the tools they need to succeed, the K-9 cruisers are also modified to ensure the safety of the dogs at all times.
Additionally, through the generous donations of local businesses and private citizens, and the hard work of the Police Volunteers, we also have bullet resistant vests for our K-9 partners.