The City of Carlsbad Police Department’s canine program includes four active canines. Since the program began in 1978, the department has had almost 20 dog teams in service and has never lost a canine in the line of duty.
Police canines provide a valuable service to the department by assisting in the location and apprehension of suspects and increasing officer safety. Using their keen sense of smell, police canines can not only detect human scent but also assist in the search for illegal narcotics.
Often, simply the presence of a highly trained police dog is enough to deter a suspect from attempting to flee, fight or hide. The proper deployment of a canine team enhances the safety of officers and the public and can reduce the likelihood of injury to the suspect.
One officer/canine team is assigned to each of the patrol division’s four watches, providing the City of Carlsbad with 24-hour canine coverage. Currently, all of the dogs are Belgian Malinois but German Shepherds have been used in the past. In addition to being certified for police patrol work and article detection, several of the patrol canines have also certified in narcotics detection.
The police department's canines train rigorously on a regular basis with their handlers to maintain their exceptional skills. This training consists of a variety of scenarios that hone the skills of the canine teams and expose the teams to new environments that they may encounter on the street. A certified professional police canine trainer administers the weekly training.
The canine teams also compete on a regular basis at police canine trials throughout Southern California. The competitions test teams’ abilities in obedience, agility, area search, building search, officer protection, and narcotics detection.
The police department's canine teams conduct approximately 50 demonstrations each year for civic groups, churches and schools. This provides the public the opportunity to have a positive, educational interaction with the canine officers and the specially trained dogs.
All of the canines enjoy life living at their handler’s residence.