License And Certification Requirements For K9 Officers
Requirements for licensure or certification vary depending on location, industry, and job level. For example, one state may require K9 officers to complete a training course, while another might require professional certification.
Even when not required, certification can improve a candidates employability and potential salary. The United State Police Canine Association offers professional certifications for K9 officers and police dog trainers.
What Happens To K
When off duty, the K-9 generally goes home with their handler because it is already a part of the handlers family. Depending on the agencies, a majority of K-9 handlers are assigned their own squad cars or vehicles to transport the dog to and from the handlers home.
Detective McManus has had a five-foot by five-foot enclosure in her basement for her K-9 partner Bane. However, because Bane and her have such a strong bond and she trusts him, he actually is integrated into her family at home. She has another dog, a family dog, and Bane is part of that family. That is becoming more common in todays K-9 handling world because that bond with that dog is so important. She remarks.
K9 Officer Salary And Career Outlook
How much do K9 officers make? According to the BLS, police and detectives typically earn a median pay of $67,290 per year, which is slightly higher than the average salary earned in all fields. This field also has a projected 5% job growth rate through 2029. Aside from stable job growth and solid pay and benefits, K9 officers benefit from helping others while working closely with police dogs.
Recommended Reading: How To Enter Police Academy
Know What To Do On Contact
You can increase usefulness and efficiency in the situation by understanding a couple of key things.
Pack mentality and Alpha behavior are instinctual to the K-9 but how you handle yourself in the moments of application can help ensure that you are not inadvertently bitten in the apprehension phase. Some dogs may re-grip often in the apprehension, especially younger K-9s. Other K-9s prefer specific regions of a suspects body. This is vital to know if you havent worked with this K-9 team before.
The K-9 may not distinguish your hand from the suspects thigh. The dog may prefer a specific targeted area but initiated contact in a different location. Some agencies, either by policy or training, practice utilizing specific target areas more than others. As an example, if a K-9 unit extensively uses sleeves, those K-9s will be much more predisposed to direct their applications to the forearm or tricep area of a suspect.
How To Move Into The Position Of A K
Although you generally maintain your police officer status in terms of rank, most agencies consider it a promotion and an opportunity to advance your career by becoming a K-9 handler.
In order to apply for the position of a K-9 handler, you will need an application, a resume, and a fair amount of dedication considering how you will be entrusted with the dog throughout your career. You will have already met the police officer requirements when you joined the agency.
Generally, agencies do not consider the position of a K-9 handler to be entry-level. So when you are looking at police jobs, you most likely will not see these positions posted as open to the pubic. The officer must have a certain amount of experience before moving into this position. When entrusting a canine to the K-9 handler, the agency must be able to trust the individual with the liability the dog comes with, especially if the canine is trained as a dual purpose dog. This is the reason one must prove oneself as an officer before proving oneself as a K-9 handler.
A great way to learn more about this position is by being in contact with the experienced K-9s and their handlers. See if you can go along with them for either a call or on a track. This gives you a live insight into how K-9 handlers perform their duties.
Recommended Reading: How To See If A Police Report Was Filed
What Happens To The K
For someone who is looking to become a K-9 handler, it is also important to understand what retirement for a K-9 handler looks like. In a few agencies, once a K-9 handler has performed their tour of duty with a specific dog for six to eight years , they will no longer be a K-9 handler. In this scenario, the handler can then apply for a promotion and or get integrated back into patrol. In other agencies, the K-9 handler has the option to take on another K-9 after their K-9 partner retires.
Before taking the position of a K-9 handler, an officer needs to know what will happen when their dog retires, and whether they get to keep their K-9 handler position after their current K-9 partner retires. In agencies where the K-9 handler has the option of taking on another K-9 after theirs retires, some K-9 handlers have been known to have worked with over four dogs or more throughout the span of their career.
Becoming Part Of The K9 Unit
Typically, the Police Department has two options of obtaining a potential K9 Unit dog.
The first way is referred to as buying a green dog. Green Dogs are usually between the ages of 7 months and 14 months old.
These pups have also undergone basic obedience training. Green Dogs are then enrolled in a training program that lasts between 4 weeks and 12 weeks.
During this time, the Green Dogs work alongside an officer to better prepare them for the job.
The second way that the Police Department may obtain a potential K9 Unit dog is for them to purchase a pup that has already been fully trained.
These dogs will have had to go through basic training as well as various other courses that closely resemble those given by the Police Force.
The Police Department will determine which way they feel they should obtain their pups.
make the decision based on what types of jobs they will have the canine perform as well as how much time and effort they want to invest in him.
Police Officers that are assigned as a handler for the K9 Unit have worked very hard to earn such a privilege.
These officers have likely undergone various dog training courses in order to properly handle their K9 counterpart. The K9 Unit training helps form the bond between the dog and his handler.
Usually, the handler as well as his canine is required to complete their training and be certified before they are released for active duty.
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Find Police Auctions
Is A Career As A K
Many people may be firmly drawn to this role due to their love of animals. K-9 officers have the rare opportunity to work with a canine companion who is highly trained. You would be hard pressed to find a job that is as enjoyable or rewarding as a K-9 officer.
K-9 unit officers also are assigned to critical tasks such as finding missing persons, Halt the trafficking of narcotics, Locating and apprehending dangerous perps. If you are interested in law enforcement and have a love of animals, this job combines the two aspects, making this the perfect criminal justice career.
Difficulties Associated With K9 Unit Training
Difficulties can arise during the K9 Unit training just as they can in any situation. Sometimes the difficulty is on the dog .
Sometimes the problem can fall on the handler .
All of these situations could put a damper on a training session for both dog and handler. Depending on the situation, the proper steps will need to be taken to correct the issue.
Don’t Miss: How To Be A Police Officer In Indiana
How To Become A K9 Officer: Career Description Salary And Steps To Take
K9 officers and their dogs endure rigorous testing and training on an ongoing basis to protect and serve their communities. They are often dispatched to the most dangerous calls and must have a high level of athleticism, police skills and fearless dedication to do their jobs well.
In this article, we provide an overview of what K9 officers do, how they’re trained and what the requirements are for performing this vital role.
Phoenix Police K9 Unit Expands In : New K9 New Facility And
Posted: Dec 21, 2020 ·He is one of four dogs added to the unit this year, bringing the Phoenix Police K9 Unit to 17 dogs total. < br> < br> “It was really a great example of the partnership between the Phoenix Police Foundation and the city because there was really a need for new dogs, and there was a budget for three,” Tim Thomas, president of the Phoenix Police …
Read Also: Who Are Police Looking For In My Area
K9s4cops Has Placed Nearly 250 K9s Resulting In Over One Billion Dollars In Contraband
“Not only are our handlers more equipped to do their job safely and more efficient, but our children’s schools and our streets are safer.”
– Deputy Clayton Marshall, Harris County Constable Precinct 4
“Having been a K9 handler for ten years, I know firsthand that there is no greater ‘tool’ that can be utilized in the line of duty. A life saving device that not only becomes our partner, but our best friend, that would give their lives to preserve ours. There is no stronger bond…and for that, I am extremely thankful.”
– Deputy James Glaze, Harris County Sheriffs Office
If it were not for K9s4COPs, I would not be where I am today in my K-9 career. The impact that K9s4COPs has on the community cannot be measured. Thank you so much K9s4COPs for everything you have done for me and my fellow brothers in blue. My family thanks for you providing the best and bringing me home safe at night.”
– Dep. Kenny Taylor, Harris County Sheriff Office
People do not understand we would not have a career law enforcement without these 4-legged partners. Thank you K9s4COPs for allowing me such a valuable tool to complete my work each and every day. The bad guys are not grateful, but on behalf of me and my family we certainly are!
– Deputy Larry Graves, Harris County Sheriff’s Office
How To Become A K
A bachelors degree in criminal justice is one of the first steps you can take to become a K-9 officer.
After a few years working as a sworn law-enforcement officer, youd sign up for additional training to become a K-9 officer, including a rigorous training camp with your canine partner.
K-9 officers are often U.S. military veterans and have at least two to four years of police work under their belt.
Police dogs learn how to detect certain items, including narcotics, electronic devices, explosives, and cadavers. The police officers learn patrol protocols, including how to release your dog, call for backup, track criminal suspects, exchange a leash for a weapon, and bringing their dog to heel after a suspect is apprehended. Canines start their detection training when theyre 1-2 years old.
Also Check: Do You Have To Get Tased In The Police Academy
What Happens When A K
Every agency has its own policy on what happens when a K-9 retires. For many agencies, when the K-9 retires, the K-9 handler then moves on from being a K-9 handler and goes into another position withing the agency. For instance, Hollys canine, Bane is slated for retirement this year while a new K-9 is gearing up taking Banes position. That new K-9 will have it own new K-9 handler
The contract the Detectus McManus has with the city as a K-9 handler, is that she will buy K-9 Bane for a dollar and then it will literally become a retired K-9 officer, much like how police officers become retired. His liability, care, vet bills, and everything else will them become the responsibility of Detective McManus personally. Right now, the city of St. Francis technically owns Bane and carries that liability for him.
National Canine Unit Manual
Posted: Before any K9 is considered for police training, the National Canine Coordinator and another FWO or other qualified K9 handler will test and evaluate it for its fitness for service. The purpose of pre-testing is to determine if the K9 has any undesirable temperament characteristics that would adversely affect its serviceability.
File Size: 388KB
Don’t Miss: How To Get Police Report For Lost Passport
Where Can I Work As A K9 Officer
In general, K9 officers can find work in a wide range of various industries and locations. A K9 officer working at the federal level may work with explosives, while a local K9 officer may assist with search and rescue efforts. Youll often find K9 officers working in Customs and Border Patrol agencies, for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and for the Transportation Security Administration. You will also find K9 units at local, state, and federal police departments.
There may also be opportunities for employment in the private sector. While K9 officers typically work for federal or state agencies, K9 officers can also work in private security to help secure important buildings or companies that require this type of screening assistance on a regular basis.
Salary And Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2017 that police officers and detectives earn a median annual salary of $62,960. But because becoming a K-9 police officer is such a specialized and training-intensive process, K-9 officers usually earn even more per year.
The BLS also reported that in 2017, police detectives and criminal investigators, which K-9 officers fit into, earned a median annual salary of $79,970. K-9 officers are also often reimbursed for the costs of caring for their canine companion.
As the U.S. population continues to grow, so will law enforcement agencies across the country. The field is projected to grow by 7 percent by 2026, adding more than 50,000 jobs to the workforce.
You May Like: Can Police Pull You Over For No Insurance In Texas
Advice For Becoming A K
To be a great K-9 handler, one must first be a great police officer. The process for becoming a police officer includes a law enforcement written exam. You will also need to take a physical agility test, and sit in front of a panel and answer police interview questions. Those who move on in the process will need to pass a polygraph, and answer psychological evaluation questions. One of the last steps will involve a police background. It is also important to know what will disqualify you from being a police officer.
For anyone wanting to get into the K-9 handling profession, it is important to learn everything about K-9s, their behaviors, and the responsibilities that come with being a K-9 handler. Although you do receive training in terms of handling your canine partner, you must not hesitate to go the extra mile to learn as much as you can on your own.
It is also paramount to learn about decoying. Decoys are used when training a dog for apprehension and bit work. It is important for handlers to have good decoys that can train their dogs to bite and release in a proper manner. People who are interested in K-9 handling are always encouraged to become a good decoy. This is because good decoys can read dogs in a way that an average person cannot.
What Does It Take To Become A Police K
Working in a police department’s K-9 unit can be the perfect job for someone who has a passion for law enforcement and a passion for animals. But the competition to get these jobs can be tough. Not only will you need to meet the basic education and experience requirements, but you’ll have to find a way to stand out from the competition.
Don’t Miss: How To Find Police Report Number
Required Education For A K9 Officer
A K9 officer must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must also generally have an associate or bachelors degree in criminal justice, law, or police science. This helps to be competitive with admission to the police academy and K9 officer applications. Earning a degree prior to entering this field also makes it more likely to be offered advanced jobs at higher levels, like at the state or federal level or with government agencies.
K9 officers typically start in this field as police officers, which means you must complete the police academy and learn all of the required skills for becoming an officer. Once on the job, an officer will be trained on how to be a K9 officer, including the proper ways to work with their dogs so they can better understand what the dogs are responsible for. These officers will also be trained in the areas theyre going to specialize in, whether its acting as a narcotics agent, responding to bomb threats, searching for missing people, or in another capacity.
Police K9 Unit Training
Posted: National Canine Unit Manual – FWS. Posted: Before any K9 is considered for police training, the National Canine Coordinator and another FWO or other qualified K9 handler will test and evaluate it for its fitness for service. The purpose of pre-testing is to determine if the K9 has any undesirable temperament characteristics that would adversely affect its serviceability.
You May Like: How To Become State Police
The Qualifications To Become A K
Few jobs offer the excitement and challenge of being a law enforcement officer on a canine unit. You may want to consider a career as a K-9 unit officer, if you are fascinated by the idea of working in a law enforcement agency and handling large dogs like different types of German shepherds. Qualifying for a job as a K-9 officer starts with training to be a law enforcement officer. After earning on the job experience, you can seek specialization as a K-9 handler.