Meet Our Unit
The Tempe Police K-9 Unit operates within the Patrol Division of the police department. The K-9 unit currently has six full-time canine teams assigned to patrol. Four of these teams are also certified for drug detection work and the other two are certified in explosives detection.
The K-9 Team’s Home Life
We believe in the very special bond that exists between the K-9 and the handler. All our K-9s go home with the handlers each day, and become part of the family. At home, the dogs spend time relaxing, or enjoying their favorite hobby. Some of the dogs love to play ball, while others enjoy spending time in the family swimming pool or relaxing in the house.
What Kind of Dogs Do We Use?
Currently we use German Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Malinois for Patrol, Drug Detection, and Explosives Detection work.
What Do We Use the Dogs For?
Patrol K-9’s are used to search for criminal suspects who have committed a serious crime. Due to the dog’s keen sense of smell, a K-9 is able to search an area of a building in less than half the time it takes for an officer to search. We also use the dogs for tracking and evidence searching. Additionally, Patrol dogs are trained to protect their handler from assault and they are used to apprehend fleeing suspects as determined by the handler.
Drug detection dogs are trained to locate various types of drugs, including Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Heroin.
Explosive detection dogs are trained to locate various types of explosives and explosive components.
The K-9 Unit also conducts nearly 50 public demonstrations each year.
Where Do the Dogs Come From?
We purchase the dogs from various kennels in the United States.
Where are the dogs trained?
The Tempe Police Department conducts all of its own training. We have our own K-9 master trainer who is assigned to the unit and conducts weekly trainings. The K-9 handlers often find spots around town in order to conduct training in different environments. The dogs are put through rigorous exercises and must pass demanding tests in order to become a police K-9.
How long does a dog usually work?
This varies with each team. We usually start training the dogs around 18-24 months of age. Depending on the dog and the handler, the training can last up to four months. The dogs usually start showing signs they are ready to retire around the age of eight or nine. After the dogs retire, they stay at the home and live with the family.