K-9 Teams Are Fighting Crime in Rocky Mount, NC

Rocky Mount Police K-9 UnitThere are four-legged members of the Rocky Mount police department who are fighting crime in Rocky Mount, NC. These patrol canines have been a part of the Police Department since the early 90s, where they have been an indispensable part of the team and a partner in the city’s vision.

We’d like to tell you more about these K-9s and pay tribute to one who saved the life of his officer handler, paving the way for new laws to make harming a K-9 a felony.

How the K-9 Team Is Fighting Crime in Rocky Mount, NC?

The first K-9 on the team was a chocolate lab named Annie, who was crucial in helping with narcotics investigations. 

Currently, there are seven canine teams, and each one is assigned to the Patrol Services Division, a team that handles calls for police services.

The canines receive special training to assist with:

  • Searches for missing persons
  • Evidence searches
  • Fugitive searches
  • Protection for officers and handlers
  • Building searches
  • Drug searches

In addition to the 10 weeks of extensive training, each canine handler has a specifically designed SUV or patrol car with a cage for the canine. 

The dogs who work with the Rocky Mount Police Department are bloodhounds, Belgian Malinois and German shepherds.

Danny: A True Rocky Mount Canine Hero

There is an unmistakable bond between the handler and the canine. Handlers must attend a 10-week school for certification before their job can begin. Nowhere is this bond reflected more strongly in the relationship between K-9 Danny and Cpl Chris Hicks in an incident that happened in 2007.

Danny and Hicks were chasing a suspect when the suspect fired at Hicks. Danny jumped in front of the bullet and died saving Cpl Hicks.

As a result of that story, Sen. A.B. Swindell, D-Nash, introduced a bill that paved the way to make killing a police dog a felony. You can read more about Danny’s incredible dedication to his handler at the WRAL website.

What Type of Training Does a Police Dog Undergo?

Police dogs are a useful member of the team for fighting crime in Rocky Mount, NC. But how much do you know about how these dogs are trained? We’ve got some interesting facts about these dogs.

These dogs are given complete obedience and patrol training that includes:

  • Agility
  • Tracking
  • Evidence searches
  • Open area searches
  • Building searches
  • Narcotics/explosive detection
  • Tracking
  • Scent training

It’s most important that these dogs be trained to protect their handlers and to obey them without hesitation.

Scent training is extensive, meaning that they are able to distinguish different kinds of smells (such as the scent of drugs) without getting “blinded” by another smell. For example, this means a dog could smell narcotics even if there was food or another animal near them.

Typically, the dogs begin training when they are between 12 and 15 months old, and while German shepherds and Belgian Malinois are most often used, a police dog can be of any breed.

These dogs typically “retire” at age 10 (depending upon health and other conditions) and may live out their lives as family pets, usually at the home of the handler.

Why Are Dogs Given Commands In Other Languages?

While there are some American breeders, most police dogs do come from Europe, where they are trained in the native language. It’s simply easier to teach the handler these commands than to re-train the dog in English.

Want to Learn More About the Rocky Mount Police Department? Consider the Citizen’s Police Academy

This academy, which is offered in the spring and the fall,  centers on providing insight to civilians about how the Rocky Mount Police Department operates. They cover such topics as:

  • Gang awareness
  • Police procedures
  • Search and seizure
  • Constitutional rights

If you’re interested, contact the city of Rocky Mount at: call 972-1436.

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