The following are my notes from the "K-9's In The Schools" session with Sergeant Billy Downey of the Gaston County Police Department. The GCPD is an anomaly as the only county police department remaining in North Carolina. Our School Resource Officer and administrative team work closely with the K-9 Unit to maintain the safety and security of our campus. This session occurred at the Gaston Schools Teaching and Learning Conference on August 8th, 2013:
The first test for dog selection criteria is on a slick floor in a dark room.
The cost to purchase a trained dog ran range from $6000 to $20,000.
If they have the correct "hunt drive", any breed of dog can be trained to serve in a K-9 Police Unit.
Most police departments use male dogs, as females have to be taken off the street temporarily (usually one week) when in heat.
When a K-9 retires from the police force, the handler has priority to keep the dog at home as a personal pet.
A police K-9 can pick up the scent of adrenaline found on skin cells, left behind by a running suspect.
Fear is also the strongest smell identified by a K-9. Hence, dogs can smell fear.
In the GCPD, K-9's will track a suspect for any Felony committed, regardless of the act.
A K-9 is not considered "Deadly Force".
K-9's are considered "less lethal, but not non-lethal". Similar to a tazer, they generally do not kill, but can kill.
"Bark and Hold" K-9's will stay with a suspect and bark for an enormous amount of time, until the handler (and handler only) commands "Bite" or rewarded.
Assault on a K-9 is now considered Felonious.
I want to thank the Gaston County Police Department for their continued collaboration with Gaston County Schools and Ashbrook High School in our joint effort to maintain the safety and security of our schools.
Thanks for reading,
The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.