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Canine Units

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 24 Issue: 9 Dated: September 1997 Pages: 50-52-55
K W Strandberg
Date Published
5 pages
Canine units are commonplace in most large police departments because they are critical to the success of criminal investigations and searches, and they are becoming more popular in smaller and medium-sized police departments as well.
Dogs can be used for a variety of purposes in law enforcement, from patrol and scent searches to narcotics and explosives. They are very cost-effective; the cost of a police dog is about $3,000. Male dogs are usually preferred over female dogs because they are bigger and stronger, and German Shepherds are the most popular breed. Police departments also report that training is the most important step for dogs and handlers in canine units and that handlers have to be specially selected. Handlers should enjoy being around dogs and should view them as tools rather than as pets. The traditional technique used by handlers is the bite-and-hold technique in which the dog bites a suspect and holds the suspect until assistance arrives. Some police departments, however, are going to the less aggressive technique of bark-and-hold to avoid litigation and liability issues. The author concludes that canine units, if trained and used properly, can be an asset to any police department. 2 photographs