The K-9 Unit began in 1987 with two dogs and is currently staffed with four K-9 teams. Each K-9 team consists of the K-9 handler and their specially trained K-9 partner. Our K-9’s are cross trained in tracking, officer protection, apprehension, and drug detection. K-9 teams must pass twelve weeks of intensive training in order to be certified as ready for deployment in the field. After initial certification, our K-9 teams train two days a month, frequently training with other K-9 Units in our region. One of the K-9 teams is assigned to work with the SWAT Team and receives special training in working in a tactical environment.
K-9 Officers are assigned to the Patrol Division and work a variety of shifts to ensure their K-9 skills are available to officers responding to calls for service in the city. In an average year, our K-9 teams respond to over 300 calls for service to assist in looking for suspects, searching buildings, finding drugs, and other uses.
Both of the large dog parks in the City are named after former RPD K-9’s Bear and Marco. K-9 Bear was the Department’s first K-9 and K-9 Marco was the only K-9 in the history of our city to be killed in the line of duty. K-9 Officers are frequent visitors to our schools and community events for demonstrations with their K-9 partners.