Illinois Police Work Dog Association
PO Box 4102 Joliet, IL. 60434-4102
Frequently Asked Questions
What breed of dogs do K-9 Officers use?
We use a variety of dogs depending on what their specialty may be. For patrol work we primarily use the German Shepherd and the Belgian Malinois. For Explosives and Narcotics detection we may use the Labrador and Retriever breeds.
Do the dogs live with their handlers?
Yes. Each dog is assigned to only one handler who is responsible for the care of the dog. The dogs live at home with their handlers and thier families.
How old are the dogs when they start training?
Dogs are carefully screened and tested before they begin training. To properly test the canine's drive, they must be about 1 year old.
How old are the dogs when they retire?
It largely depends upon their health, but generally a Police Dog can look to retire anywhere from 7 to 10 years of age.
Where do they go when they retire?
It is common practice to let the dogs live out the remainder of their lives with the handlers whom they worked their career with.
How do officers get selected to become canine handlers?
Officers must pass a rigorous screening process first. Things considered are dependability, fitness, ability to work without direct supervision, and soild knowledge of case law, use of force, and search and siezure laws.
How much do the dogs cost?
That varies depending on the breed, age and any previous training the dog may have had. A good figure could be between $5000.00 and $9000.00
Are the dogs' safe when left in their patrol cars while the handler isn't there?
Yes! The canine vehicles are equipped with the most up-to-date canine safety devices on the market. Heat sensors in the car will activate the car's horn, roll down the back windows and turn on a fan in the car if the dog's area gets too warm. Remote control door opening ensures the dog can get out of the car to assist the handler at the touch of a button or in any other emergency situation.
How is a dog able to smell so well?
A number of things contribute to the dog's keen sense of smell. Their long snouts have a large turbinate bone structure that holds millions of scent receptor cells, plus the olfactory lobe of their brain is much larger than that of a human being.
Can dogs search cars on traffic stops?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 on January 24th 2005 that using a police dog to detect drugs during a routine traffic stop does not violate the Constitution.
Justice John Paul Stevens said in his majority opinion using a dog, even without a warrant, to sniff the exterior of a vehicle during a routine traffic stop "generally does not implicate legitimate privacy interests."
A state trooper stopped Roy Caballes for speeding in LaSalle County, Ill., in 1998. However, the trooper discovered from the radio dispatcher that Caballes had two prior arrests for the distribution of marijuana.
The trooper called in a drug-sniffing dog, which helped find a large quantity of marijuana in Caballes's trunk.
A divided Illinois Supreme Court ruled the search was unconstitutional, but the U.S. Supreme Court threw out that decision, and ordered the state court to come up with a ruling consistent with Monday's majority opinion.
Today, even with advanced technological tools, the Police Dog is irreplaceable. The dog's nose is thousands to millions of times more sensitive than a human's. And that sense of smell aids police in apprehending criminals, searching for drugs and bombs, even locating the source of arson. Dogs’ superior hearing, speed, and agility make them a top candidate for police work. The Police Dog has become an invaluable addition to any police force and its popularity has been on a steady incline since the early 1900s. Advancements in training and the understanding of dogs has served to increase the Police Dog's efficiency over the years. Police Dogs are trained to work in a variety of potentially dangerous situations. Training includes: obstacle courses to overcome physical and mental challenges on the job, obedience training, and specialized exercises designed to teach the dogs how to focus under heavy distractions like, gunfire, loud noises, and crowds.
These dogs are trained to track down and apprehend suspects who have fled on foot, usually into wooded areas. When we think of tracking dogs, the Bloodhound generally comes to mind. Although the bloodhound is renowned for its incredible scenting abilities, in actuality, the breed of the dog is less important than the individual dog's motivational drive to work and its ability to track scents. Other breeds commonly used are German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. These dogs have an instinctive drive to locate prey and the will to follow a scent on ground or in the air with utter determination. Tracking dogs are trained to follow the scent of a suspect, and then once located, to apprehend the person by either the "circle and bark" method or the "bite and hold" technique. In either case the handler of the dog should be able to call the dog "off" the suspect automatically.
Explosives Detection Dogs
In the same way that dogs are trained to sniff out narcotics, they are also successfully used to detect explosives. With the recent surge in domestic terrorism, bomb dogs are in high demand. These heroic dogs save lives by quickly searching out buildings, leaving bomb squads with more time to clear explosive devices.
Drug Detection Dogs
Drug traffickers are finding increasingly sophisticated ways of hiding drugs for transport. The scenting ability of the Police Drug Dog often provides the only hope of locating illegal narcotics. Drug Dogs have proven so successful that they now work in many airports, bus stations, border crossings, and sea ports. These dogs are trained to sniff out drugs, then alert authorities by either by scratching at the surface near the source of the smell or sitting down next to the source. Such a signal from a sniffer dog gives police probable cause necessary to search luggage or vehicles.
Fire investigators use Arson Dogs to solve crimes. These dogs sniff out traces of gas or other flammable liquids in arson situations. Arson Dogs are invaluable because they can pinpoint traces of arson more efficiently than any electronic detection device. In fact, their amazing noses can smell traces about the size of a thousandth of a drop!
is the difference between a search dog, cadaver dog, decomp dog and a
forensic evidence dog?