Securities and Dangers of K-9 Units

K-9 units provide a loyal companion, but are exposed to dangers while on the job.


Kirsti Schon

Police dogs are beneficial to their human counter parts. While aiding to the regular duties performed by police officers, dogs can add the extra sense of loyalty to the overall police force.

Dogs are known to be a man’s best friend, and when combined with a police officer there is the potential to reach a new level of friendship on the job. Although the connection formed between these partners may be strong, there are also many risks taken by having a K-9 unit.

“[These dogs face risks because their] life is in danger when other precautions could have been put in place,” senior Logan Delgado said.

In a police department there are many different benefits and struggles of having a K-9 unit. A police dog’s main jobs include tracking down drugs, searching for missing people, finding evidence and protecting their partner from possible threats. All of these tasks are can be achieved faster when performed by a dog rather than an officer. A dog’s loyalty is often known as its most outstanding quality and, in a K-9 unit, a dog may be the best partner for an officer due to their extensive protection methods and loyalty to the job and their handler.

“Not only does a police officer gain a very loyal and protective partner, but that officer [goes through] training that many other officers do not,” Vernon Hills Police Officer Don Smith said. “In dangerous situations or foot pursuits the canine officer releases his dog to protect him and to chase down fleeing suspects, often a lot faster than he could do himself. Dogs are sometimes sacrificed in that endeavor as they occasionally are wounded or killed trying to protect their handler.”

While a K-9 partner has its benefits, there are also some downfalls. A K-9 requires lots of training, care and attention. As a K-9, a dog does not get to experience the luxuries of being a household pet; these dogs require frequent training and little down time. At home, these dogs are also prevented from being treated as a family pet. These dogs almost always need to be ready to work and have little relaxation time.

“Police work is dangerous, and dogs are also susceptible to being injured in the line of duty,” Classroom author Simon Fuller said. “Dogs have been killed by suspects bearing knives and guns. Some view this as a disadvantage of using police dogs since, unlike humans, the animal ultimately doesn’t have a choice in terms of a career.”

Although police dogs may be loyal companions and determined workers, there are many precautions to be aware of when considering including a K-9 unit in a police department.