The job of a police dog

Stratford's police dogs at a 2013 retirement ceremony, Jan. 31, 2013.
Stratford's police dogs at a 2013 retirement ceremony, Jan. 31, 2013.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — They’re selected, they go through intensive training and re-training at the academy, and they’re relied upon in an emergency. The only difference between these cops and their partners are their paws.

Police agencies across Connecticut reply upon their canine, or K-9, officers to assist other police on patrol. Police dogs undergo 14-to-15 weeks of training at the Connecticut State Police Department K-9 Academy in Meriden. The academy graduates mostly German Shepherds, as well as Labrador Retrievers.

Link: Orange police mourn rookie K-9

At the academy the dogs learn about:

  • Tracking
  • Aggression and protecting their handler
  • Evidence recovery
  • Building searches
  • Obedience.

Grasso Shepherds in Connecticut breeds, sells and trains German Shepherds as police dogs, and has worked with Connecticut police departments in Bridgeport, Stamford and Torrington. On his site Grasso explains why German Shepherds make great police dogs.

Unlike most other breeds, the German Shepherd can work the streets as a canine officer and still be sound and trustworthy with their family, including children and other pets. Other than his loyalty and stunning looks, the most valuable asset a good German Shepherd can have is his clear head, power, stability, and the ability to rationalize to a point of disbelief.

Middletown Police describes the relationship between the human officer and the dog as a family.

The officers and their K9 partners live together at the officer’s residence and are considered a member of their respective families. The K9 team is on call 24 hours a day to respond to support the patrol division. Upon the retirement of either the K9 or the officer, the K9 remains with the officer and their family.

Embedded below is a story News 8 did in January, 2013, about the retirement of Roscoe from the Stratford Police Department.

Stratford currently has three police dogs on duty. West Haven started its K-9 unit in 1986 with one dog. Now they have three. “Besides performing normal police duties, the K-9 teams have performed many demonstrations for the children and adults of the City of West Haven,” police say on the department’s website.

The Bristol Police Department has three dogs in duty, two German Shepherds on patrol, and a Labrador working narcotics. The have advice for people on how to approach a officer and his/her dog.

As canines are notorious for their sense of smell and the speed at which they can run, they are a valuable asset in locating criminals and evidence in any setting. Though our dogs are friendly, they have undergone rigorous training that has elevated them into highly efficient police officers. Should you meet one of our dogs and his handler on the street, please be sure to ask before approaching them.

Just last month, the 166th class of patrol dogs was graduated from the academy. All German Shepherds, the nine teams of dogs and their human partners went through a graduation ceremony and then onto their assignments with the Connecticut State Police, Department of Correction, or Orange, Hartford, Stonington or UConn police departments.

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