Police dogs are canines used by law enforcement personnel to help with daily duties, particularly in the areas of drug and explosive detection, and in the apprehension of criminals. Thanks to a keen sense of smell and loyalty, these trained dogs become valued members of police teams. Police dogs provide a number of benefits, but their use also presents some concerns.
Intimidation and Combat
Dogs make a large impact when it comes to intimidating suspects. The dog's growl or even her mere presence causes some to go quietly when placed under arrest. In a physical situation, police dogs are useful because they run faster than humans and are efficient at chasing suspects, and the dog's strong jaws are an effective tool for detainment.
Help Search Work
A police dog’s many duties revolve around his keen sense of smell, which is up to 50 times more efficient than that of a human, according to the Curiosity Online website. This sense is a help to officers involved in drug or explosive detection work, since the dog locates illegal goods or dangerous items more effectively than human officers working alone. Dogs follow individual scents, too, leading to a faster apprehension of suspects.
Police dogs are extensively trained and become trusted partners to human officers, but the dogs still possess canine instincts. In some cases, for example, a dog gets overexcited or becomes frightened and bites a handler, a suspect or even a member of the public. Police departments cannot make guarantees against such rogue attacks, and it’s possible for agencies to be brought to court by the victims and forced to pay compensation.
Dogs Get Harmed
Police work is dangerous, and dogs are also susceptible to being injured in the line of duty. 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.
- Cheshire Constabulary: Specialist Units: Dogs Section
- Curiosity Online: Culture and Society; "What Advantages Do Police Dogs Have Over Human Police?
- B.B.C.; "Police Dog Bites Cost Forces Thousands in Compensation"; Melanie Abbott; 2011
- Fox News; "Police Dog Stabbed and Killed in Washington State"; 2011
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images