K-9 Unit Officer

By : Justin Moore

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Job Description

K9 Units jobs involve performing the following duties:

  • Detect the presence of illegal substances, dangerous chemicals or explosives
  • Pursue and apprehend fugitives
  • Track and rescue missing or kidnapped individuals
  • Locate bodies that have been buried or submerged underwater
  • Detect evidence
  • Maintain the functional proficiency of canines and handlers through ongoing training
  • Identify individuals who have come into contact with controlled materials

K9 Units are composed of law enforcement officers partnered with a highly-trained canines. These specially trained dogs are bred or chosen for their intelligence and strong sense of smell. These dogs can help when pursuing fugitives, searching for missing persons, and during narcotics or weapons detection. The officers who handle these canines are more than merely dog handlers; they develop unique relationships in which the canine becomes a trusted partner. K9 Officers usually maintain 24-hour control over their canines

Education Requirments

The initial step in becoming a K9 Unit officer is to apply for a job with a law enforcement organization. Most agencies possess stringent qualifications that include at least a high school education and excellent physical condition. Many larger police organizations expect candidates to possess an associate’s degree or higher. After successfully completing the application process, recruits will attend a police or training academy.

Salary Range

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that police officers earned on average $55,010 in 2010, K9 Units typically earn more than most police officers of similar rank and experience. The added responsibilities, expenses and training that K9 Officers must perform are usually compensated by their organizations. Many agencies may recompense Canine Officers for additional time spent caring for their canine partner, cost of cleaning, and ongoing training.