Nov 20, 2019
Here at the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD), we have six dogs in our K9 unit (none of which are Chihuahuas–find out why in What it Takes to be a K9... as Told by a Chihuahua).
The K9s working for DSD are not bite dogs–each dog has special skills that are meant to detect certain potentially dangerous materials, such as cell phones, drugs, and explosives. The K9 unit, which includes the deputies who are the K9 handlers, brings another level of security to the Sheriff Department and, admittedly, a whole lot of cuteness.
Above image, from left to right: Rue, Kuko, Karma, Koda, Bolo, Buddy
The K9 unit has some of the hardest working dogs around. They love coming to work because they get to do what they were trained for and get lots of praise for doing such a stellar job. (Plus, the rest of us try to get some petting in whenever they’re around.) One of the duties that the K9 unit is responsible for is helping to secure vehicles that will be bid on at the biweekly abandoned and confiscated vehicle auction.
Above image: Deputy Padilla (K9 handler) and K9 Bolo
The dogs are the last step in the sweep for weapons, drugs, and other illegal substances. Before the K9 dogs and handlers arrive at the Vehicle Impound Facility (VIF), deputies have already searched the vehicles and confiscated any dangerous or illegal items. Why bother with the dogs, then? According to PBS:
Your average dog's nose is tens of thousands of times as sensitive to odors as yours… they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours.
“If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well,” James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University.
Above image: Deputy Jones (K9 handler) and K9 Koda
It makes sense, then, that dogs are part of law enforcement agencies all around the world. Their sense of smell allows us greater accuracy during searches and better ensures our safety. And, when you’re going to bid on a vehicle that has been possibly abandoned or confiscated for a variety of unfortunate reasons, you don’t want to drive away with any number of unknown dangerous materials in tow.
Apart from dogs being awesome in general, we’re quite partial to the six that make up our K9 unit. Thanks for watching over the community and the Denver Sheriff Department!
Written by Carrie Sisk
Digital Communications Strategist, Denver Sheriff Department