The canine program was established to supplement police operations by locating and apprehending criminal offenders and illegal narcotics and explosives. Because of a superior sense of smell and hearing and potential aggressiveness, the trained law enforcement canine is a valuable supplement to law enforcement manpower.
Utilization of canines requires adherence to procedures that properly control their use of force potential and channel their specialized capabilities into legally acceptable crime prevention and control. Each handler is trained in the tactical application of his/her dog prior to being placed in an operational status. A dog handler assists in formulating plans of action for effective canine use. Canine use is based upon the immediate circumstances of a situation. Examples in which canine teams might properly be used are building searches, tracking of suspects, clearing open areas, evidence searches, chasing and subduing suspects fleeing the scene, crowd control, lost persons, and narcotics detection.
In 2012, the K-9 Team consisted of five narcotic detection/patrol canines. The canines responded to 79 calls for service per month on average, which included an average of 39 vehicle searches per month. K-9 officers and their partners found contraband during 230 searches. Canines located 11.25 pounds of marijuana, 41 grams of methamphetamine, 27 grams of cocaine, 40 grams of crack cocaine, 20 grams of heroin, and 205 articles of drug paraphernalia. Canines conducted 478 searches for narcotics.