K-9 police officers work closely with their dogs to enforce laws and apprehend criminals. With relatively few positions available in the field, an assignment to the canine unit is highly coveted amongst law enforcement professionals. Duties
A K-9 handler can use their dog to enforce public order while on patrol. A primary role for police dogs is pursuing and apprehending suspects that attempt to escape law enforcement officers. Dogs tend to be trained for one specialty skill such as identifying narcotics or smuggled goods, search and rescue operations, detecting accelerants at an arson scene, or locating human remains.
The dog is a proven deterrent to criminals who might otherwise try to confront the officer. The handler must be responsible for maintaining complete control of the dog at all times, as this is a source of potential liability.
K-9 partners frequently work nights and weekends, and they have to be ready to respond to emergency situations with little or no notice. Paid overtime is common. The handler is responsible for the dog at all times, as the dog lives with the officer and his or her family during nonworking hours.
A K-9 officer must be comfortable interacting with the public. Public demonstrations are an important part of the K-9 unit’s activities, as such displays increase interest and support from the community and local media. Officers may visit schools, community groups, and other organizations to showcase their canine partner’s contribution to public safety. Career Options
K-9 officers can work in local, state, and federal law enforcement, as well as in the military. While many work as police officers, other agencies employing K-9 handlers include the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
K-9 officers may be involved with the patrolling of airports, harbors, and borders. They may also use their dogs to complete searches in prisons, schools, or...
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