Tag Archives: Police K9

Police K9 Dog Deaths Already High in 2016

Update:  Omaha K9 killed 1/25/2016.  The year 2016 is not starting out well for police K9 dogs in the U.S.  Since the beginning of January, three four K9’s have already been killed by hostile gunfire.  In all of 2015, a total of four working dogs died by gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.  Of the 26 K9’s killed in 2015, one was poisoned and one was stabbed, in addition to the others who died from shootings or accidental causes.  The average number of police dogs shot to death during the last decade was 3.2 annually. Sometimes we take for granted the indispensable role these trained animals play in law … Continue reading

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Police K9 Handlers and Dog Control

A Coconut Creek Police Department K9 dog has been retired from the force after biting two innocent persons, one an officer.  Four-year-old K9 Renzo had only been on the job a year and a half at the time of his dismissal.  The circumstances of the bites, as widely reported in the media, shine a light on the subjects of a handler’s judgment and his control of his police dog in public. I am commenting only on the scenarios as documented, not the persons involved, who will not be named here.  In the first instance, November 26, 2014, the K9 team was tracking a home invasion suspect around 12 a.m.  The … Continue reading

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Dogs Win on K9 Fight Night!

As a former police dog handler, last Wednesday’s White House intruder incident made me both proud and angry.  K9 Hurricane and K9 Jordan performed their duties well.  The suspect, whom I won’t name out of thorough disdain, pissed me off with his disrespectful stunt. In the widely shown video, Jordan takes a pretty hard front kick to the head from the suspect.  Hurricane is punched repeatedly.  The dogs stay in the fight until the Secret Service uniforms arrive.  This fast-paced perimeter protection is perfect for the dogs’ talents. The speed, tenaciousness, and ferocity of the Belgian Malinois make them ideal as security assets for open areas such as the White … Continue reading

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The Future of Police Narcotics Dogs and Marijuana

Supporters of legalized medical marijuana will have their opportunity in November to let the voters decide on whether medical marijuana will be available to patients.  The controversial ballot initiative was approved by the Florida Supreme Court.  Four legislative bills have been introduced which deal with defining, authorizing, and regulating medicinal cannabis and its infrastructure.  How will all of this affect law enforcement?  Not much…for now. Most recently, though, in Colorado and Washington State, decriminalization of recreational marijuana has changed the way police narcotics detector dogs go about their business.  The obvious issue is whether a narcotics dog’s alert still constitutes probable cause to perform a warrantless search of a vehicle … Continue reading

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K9 Hijinx

Okay, M@ reminded me of a story.  Back when I was in K9, when things were “in black and white” as a snarky friend once observed, a handler from a nearby agency told me about something that happened to him one night. It seems that at this particular department, they found a novel use for the K9 teams.  During narcotic buys-busts, a handler and dog would be hidden in the trunk of the undercover car.  When the narc dicks up front had completed a drug deal, they would give a short honk on the horn and, Surprise!, the K9 team would pop out to apprehend any runners.  Sounds fun, right? … Continue reading

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Miami Gardens K9 Dies in Line of Duty

Miami Gardens Police K9 Max lost his life following an accident while searching a building on September 12.  K9 Ofc. Chris Bezio was deploying Max through a window on a burglary call when broken glass fell on the dog.  K9 Max was rushed to the Hollywood Animal Hospital, but he died from complications of his injury. K9 Max was a five year old German Shepherd Dog and had been partnered with Bezio for four years.  Max was a dual purpose K9, trained for patrol and as an explosives detector dog.  A funeral was held yesterday for the fallen dog.  Over a hundred officers and K9 teams were in attendance. According … Continue reading

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Back on the Street with the K9’s

After a few weeks of getting reacquainted with the K9 Unit’s handlers and dogs, I am back in the swing. Cleaning up a year’s worth of administrative backlog, I un-assed myself from the desk and hit the street. Last night, I ran lights and siren to a foot chase involving one of the shift officers. He had interrupted a mobile check cashing scheme at a cash advance place. The felonious utterer took flight. The officer lost the bad guy in a…wait for it…mobile home park (Welcome to Florida). The K9 had just deployed and I had a visual, so I exited the CVPI and tagged along. Sometimes a near zero … Continue reading

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The Right K9 Tool for the Right Job

We responded to a bomb threat last week.  Having an explosives detector dog at the scene reminded me of a call years ago when I was a K9 handler. It was the early 1990’s.  I was working a dual-purpose Patrol and Narcotics K9 on the Midnight Shift.  A woman called 911 to report that she was having a domestic with her boyfriend.  During the argument, he threatened to blow her and her whole family up.  Prior to our arrival, she told the dispatcher that he had left their…wait for it…mobile home with something under his shirt. Officers arrived on scene and she disgorged that he had previously served in the … Continue reading

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Leon County Sheriff’s Office K9 Koda Slain

In an attempt to apprehend fleeing murder suspect Carlos Cespedes, Leon County Sheriff’s Office K9 Koda was shot and killed in the line of duty on 2/1/2013. LCSO PIO Lt. James McQuaig reported that Deputy Ron McMullen, his partner K9 Koda, and Deputy Tyler Epstein confronted the suspect at the end of a vehicle pursuit.  Cespedes fired his gun at the deputies and K9 Koda was hit by a single bullet. Dep’s McMullen and Epstein returned fire and the suspect was hit.  He is in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.  The deputies were uninjured.  Cespedes had active warrants from the Tallahassee Police for first degree murder, … Continue reading

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Police K9’s, Pursuits, and Multitasking

A shootout in Fortville, Indiana two days ago had me thinking about the additional multitasking a K9 handler must go through in a vehicle pursuit.  The “routine traffic stop” had devolved into a car chase during which the suspect, James Lockhart III, abruptly brought his vehicle to a stop, exited, and quickly fired on Fortville Police K9 Ofc. Matt Fox. Bullets tore through the windshield of Ofc. Fox’s marked Dodge Charger, striking the officer in the left forearm, left hand, and forehead.  Ofc. Fox’s ballistic vest stopped a round to his chest.  He was shot before he could get out of his patrol car. I have vivid recollections of many … Continue reading

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A K9 Team is Born

A new K9 Handler and dog are preparing to hit the street next week.  Their graduation ceremony from K9 school is upon us and I could not be happier for the Unit’s junior member. It has been two decades since I was in his shoes, but I still remember the excitement and trepidation I had on leaving the known rigors of school for the uncertainty of success on the road. Because of the nature of the job, the learning curve can be steep and dangerous.  As I write this, I learned of a Palm Beach County K9 Team involved in a shoot-out this morning where a lieutenant and a police … Continue reading

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