CANINE (k-9) UnIT
The Seattle Police Department Canine Unit is made up of a sergeant, a training officer and 13 handler officers. Of those officers assigned a dog, 10 officers handle generalist or patrol dogs, two handle narcotics detection dogs and one handles a bomb detection dog. The patrol dogs work at night but are subject to callouts during the day. All three detection dogs work varied shifts depending on the needs of the department.
The K9 training officer works with the generalist teams providing ongoing training, which includes obedience, tracking, and both area and building searches. The narcotics and bomb detection dogs participate in regular ongoing training with several local agencies.
WHAT DOES THE CANINE UNIT DO?
Patrol dogs are used to find criminal suspects. They search buildings and open areas, track suspects that have fled from a crime scene and locate any evidence that a suspect leaves behind. Using their keen sense of smell, a patrol dog can search faster, safer, with less manpower, and more accurately than officers can alone.
The generalist teams work with patrol and are assigned throughout the city during nighttime hours. Along with their tracking duties the K9 officers also provide support for patrol officers responding to 911 calls and handling on view activity. A specially trained generalist team responds to SWAT call outs and assists when needed.
There are two narcotics teams in the K9 Unit. These dogs are trained to find the scent of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine. The teams are responsible for locating narcotics that have been hidden in houses, cars, and buried in yards. The dogs are also used to obtain search warrants. These teams work with the Narcotics Unit, Major Crimes Task Force, Precinct Anti-Crime Teams, and Patrol.
Our bomb detection team works with the department’s Arson and Bomb Unit and other agencies in the region providing search and detection skills for explosives and firearms. The dog is trained to find the scent of gunpowder and both commercial and military explosives.