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The Boise Police canine teams are used in a variety of ways while deployed on shift. One of the most common uses is for drug detection when patrol officers have arrested a suspect and have probable cause to believe illegal drugs may be present in vehicles, buildings or other locations. Because of the extensive training the canines receive and their acute sense of smell, they are extremely proficient in locating hidden drugs. They often locate illegal drugs in areas where a patrol officer cannot see.
Several BPD canines are also trained to locate and apprehend violent criminal suspects. With their extensive training and sense of smell, they often locate hidden suspects in locations where officers may not have been able to safely locate them. The dogs are very proficient at tracking and locating suspects that have fled crime scenes, searching large open areas such as parks and parking lots, and building searches including crawl spaces and attics.
In addition to finding and apprehending the actual suspects, the canines can also be used to locate articles dropped or hidden by fleeing suspects, such as weapons or clothing. These article searches are performed just like a canine might search for a suspect.
Today, the Boise Police Canine Unit consists of:
- 4 drug detection dogs. All BPD drug detection dogs are certified by the Idaho Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy, having achieved the required 100% proficiency. One drug detection dog is assigned to the Boise
Police Bandit Narcotics Unit, one to the Neighborhood Contact Officer unit, and two are assigned to patrol. Two of the Boise Police drug detection dogs are adopted from our local animal shelters. The other two were acquired through citizens or other contacts at no initial cost to the department. Three of the BPD drug detection dogs are Labs or Lab mixes, the fourth is a German Shepherd- Belgian Malanois mix.
- 4 drug detection/suspect apprehension dogs. These patrol dogs are cross trained in drug detection and suspect apprehension. These dual purpose dogs are purchased at a young age and can be very costly due to their breeding and early training. Many dual purpose police patrol dogs are born in Europe and later sent to American suppliers who then sell the dogs to police agencies. These dogs require in depth training with their handler before they are ready for police work. Three of the Boise Police drug detection/suspect apprehension patrol dogs are Belgian Malanois, the fourth is a German Shepherd.
- 5 explosive detection dogs. These dogs are assigned to the Boise Airport but are often called upon to respond to any location throughout the Treasure Valley. These dogs are purchased with Homeland Security funds. Four of BPD's explosive detection dogs are Labs, the fifth is a German Shepherd.
BPD K-9 History
The Boise Police Department implemented a patrol canine program in 1995 with the first canine/handler teams going into service in early in 1996. The Canine Unit is comprised of the canine/handler teams and two Sergeants. A Lieutenant is assigned as the program coordinator. The patrol unit teams are assigned to each of the day, swing and night shift teams as members of that patrol team. The canines used by the Boise Police Department are trained extensively in handler protection, suspect apprehension and drug detection.
Questions & Answers about BPD K-9's
Q. What kind of dogs does the Boise Police Department use?
A. All of our dogs currently are either Labs, German Shepherds or Belgian Malanois. The dual purpose drug detection-suspect apprehension dogs are imported from Europe and receive training both in Europe and in the United States prior to being placed on a patrol shift.
Q. Where do the dogs live when they are not working?
A. All of the canines reside with the handler in their residence when not on duty and become part of the family. This
gives the dog a chance to socialize with people other than the handler and to have a secure location so they can recover from the stress of a normal working day.
Q. Are these dogs vicious or dangerous?
A. No. On the contrary. The selection process for the dogs stresses the selection of social dogs who deal well with people. Although each dog has a distinct personality, just as people do, the dogs are comfortable around people. It is important however, to ask the handler for permission to pet the dog as they are trained to protect the handler from a sudden attack and may misinterpret a sudden movement towards them as a threat. In addition, because of the strenuous nature of the work they do, the dogs occasionally develop sore spots which the handler is generally aware of and can help you avoid. As with all animals, it is never a wise choice to tease the dogs.
Kamo is a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix. Kamo was given to us as a 2-year-old in October of 2009, by a Canyon County Deputy who trains police dogs. Kamo became a certified Drug-Detection Dog in April of 2010. During his first year on the job, Kamo completed over 200 deployments. Kamo absolutely loves workinga s a Boise Police Canine.
Turk is a energetic yellow labrador who was generously donated to the Boise Police Department by a local citizen in 2010. At the time, he was less than one year old. Turk loves spending time with his family and jumping on a trampoline. It is due to the help and partnerships with people like Turk's prior owner that allow the Boise K9 Unit to be successful.
KC is a Black Labrador and Border Collie mix. KC was adopted from the Idaho Humane Society in August of 2009 when she was a 4-year-old. She became a certified Narcotics Detection Canine in April of 2010. During her first year on the job, she led to the seizure of $16,967 of drug money. KC loves her job as a police dog.
Ruwa (pronounced roo;-wha) is an 85-lb. Belgian Malinois born in Belgium in 2006. He came to the Boise Police Department in 2009 and was trained as a patrol and drug dog. Ruwa loves to sniff out illegal drugs and chase down bad guys! He even broke off a tooth once whle apprehending a bad guy! Ruwa's favorite treat is string cheese.
Vigo is a 62-lb. Belgian Malinois who was born in Holland in 2005 and came to Boise in 2007. He was trained by the Boise Police Department to be a drug dog and patrol (apprehension) dog. Whether it's sniffing out hidden drugs or playing "catch me if you can" with bad guys, he loves to play hide-n-seek! Vigo is known by his family as being "aggressively affectionate!"