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K-9 Partners: Who's Respsonsible for the Cost of Their Care?

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 26 Issue: 9 Dated: September 1999 Pages: 78-81
Liz Martinez DeFranco
Date Published
September 1999
4 pages
This article discusses the contributions of dogs to policing, K-9 officer expenditures and compensation, dog breeds suitable for police work, and how an officer handler and K-9 interact to the officer's benefit.
Dogs can be trained in obedience and agility, and in specific functions such as scout work, which includes tracking people as well as building and article searches, and apprehension. K-9 officers who work for local and State agencies generally bring their dogs home with them. Having a dog in the house involves more work for the officer, plus the extra expenses involved in caring for any large animal. Under Federal regulation, the law enforcement agency is supposed to provide additional compensation for K-9 duties and upkeep, but how that works out differs from department to department. Almost all breeds of dog have good noses, but in police work the hounds are asked to smell out things that are not related to their survival needs, so the importance of the dogs' drives is paramount for success. Out of 10 dogs, approximately half will graduate from a K-9 training program. A high retrieve drive is essential for a dog's success. Some breeds, such as Rottweilers, like to retrieve, but they do not like to work to find an object. Labradors are easily deceived. K-9's offer their handlers protection on the job and serve as deterrents against intruders at home. Dogs also help make the police more approachable, especially for kids. This article identifies the departmental costs involved in mounting and operating an effective K-9 program.