Police dogs help our officers in a variety of ways. The most important tool police dogs have is their nose, and their primary job is to find people or things by sense of smell. Our dogs are trained to search primarily with their noses, but may also use their eyes and ears. These are also highly acute. When a police dog is working, he is continually checking air currents and scents in the air. The dogs evolved from wild animals and instinctively can follow the "sent cone" which leads them directly to the source.
Dogs are used in a variety of different ways by police officers. The most common use is to search for hiding suspects in buildings or open areas. A police dog can search an entire building the size of a grocery store in about 15 minutes. The same size building would take officers over 2 hours to search without the aid of a canine.
More importantly than saving time, is enhancing officer safety. Police dogs can alert officers to the presence of a hiding suspect, which allows them to safely prepare for the arrest.
Another valuable asset the dog provides is tracking. Tracking is the ability to follow ground disturbances left by a suspect. Dogs have been able to track on all different types of surfaces ranging from concrete to grass. Somepolice dogs have been able to follow human tracks as old as 48 hours. Tracking allows us to find lost children or re-trace the escape route of a wanted suspect. Searching for articles is another job done by our police dogs. An item that is foreign to the terrain will give off a different odor. Our dogs can differentiate that odor and alert officers to its location. An example of this would be a murder weapon discarded by a suspect as he or she fled the crime scene. The police dog can locate any object, which is unusual to the area and alert it's handler of the find.
Narcotics detection is another valuable resource police have in their war on drugs. Dogs have been used to find drugs for over thirty years. A dog can find drugs that would never be located by humans. There are many ways of disguising the odor or sealing the drugs in an airtight container. Airtight containers prove no match for a trained narcotic detection dog. Masking scents or camouflaging the drugs with a stronger odor will not fool an experienced narcotic detection dog. Detection dogs have found drugs hidden in containers buried several feet beneath the ground. Our dogs have located thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs as well as illegal drug money.
Most citizens do not know the purpose of police dogs in modern law enforcement. Hopefully, we have been able to help you understand how police dogs benefit the Chino Police Department. The use of police dogs in law enforcement goes way beyond protection of the officer and the public. 95% of our canine's job is to find things by using its extraordinary sense of smell. Without this valuable resource, our police officers would have an important tool missing from their toolbox.