Trained Police Dogs In Big Demand


Police Dogs or K9’s have become very commonplace in our everyday lives. Travel though an airport or spend a day that the mall you are sure to see these extremely well training police canines “working” right alone side their two legged partners.

Nearly a day doesn’t pass when I don’t read about an heroic act, a drug bust, or far too often a tragic injury or death of one of these highly trained law enforcers.

Always curious by the many facets public safety training for both policeman and firefighters I recently read an excellent article written by a Massachusetts news reporter, Jessica Trufant  (see the contact information below), that added to my knowledge base of the world of K9’s, their training, commitment and (growing) importance.

Ken Ballinger is the Assistant Deputy Superintendent of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department has seen a huge spike in the number of departments investing in police dogs following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.  More recently AD Ballinger  has been flooded with calls pouring into his cell phone in the weeks following the Boston Marathon bombings.

“These aren’t your grandfather’s police dogs,” Ballinger said during a recent training session. “Some of these dogs are just getting back from seven days in Boston with SWAT teams.”

Dwane Foisy, president of the Massachusetts Police Work Dog Association, has also received many inquiries from departments interested in bomb-detecting dogs since Patriots Day.

With more than 20 years as a K9 officer, Foisy, who works for the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department, just like Ballinger said he saw an upswing in bomb-detecting police dogs after 9/11, but then the demand dropped off. He said bomb dogs might not be realistic for small departments, because calls for suspicious packages peak after an attack, but then trail off.

“When you have a narcotics dog, they’re making seizures of narcotics and money, and there’s a return on the investment,” Foisy said. “With explosives dogs, you may not get calls for service very often.”

While small agencies’ interest in bomb dogs will likely simmer, Ballinger said the demand for multi-purpose police dogs is higher than ever.

For every dog that retires, we’re replacing it with five. said Ballinger

At the Auburn University Canine Detection Training Center in Anniston, Alabama   Labrador Retrievers are learning the Auburn-patented vapor-wake training, which means they’ll be able to smell a plume of scent left by an explosive device that is worn or carried. John Pearce, associate director of the Training Center, said they’ve used vapor-wake training for eight years.

Pearce said the vapor-wake trained dogs cost $24,950 and dogs skilled in vapor-wake and standard explosive detection cost $29,950. The Labs trained in Anniston are used by law enforcement agencies across the country, including the New York Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police. Pearce said he couldn’t say with absolute certainty, but if one of his Labs had been at the Boston Marathon the pressure cooker bombs that killed three people might have been discovered before they went off.  For more information on the training center in Anniston click here:

Click here to view original web page at

A Drastic Increase In The Use Of Dogs

A second-generation K9 handler, Ballinger 20 years ago never imagined that dogs in 2013 would be sniffing out contraband cell phones in prisons, or wearing cameras to stake out buildings before raids.

K9_1But Ballinger has seen a drastic increase in the use of dogs and the sophistication of training, as case law and public opinion have shifted to treat K9s as legitimate police tools.

He expects a greater presence of K9s before and during large public events, despite some pushback from privacy rights advocates who may consider the use of dogs unlawful searching.

“Standards for privacy are high in Massachusetts, but the standard of reasonableness reflects the world we live in now,” Ballinger said. “A dog walking around and sniffing you is a lot less intrusive than a cop grabbing you and shaking you like a leaf.”

“There’s nothing in modern technology that will be more accurate or sensitive than a dog’s nose,” Ballinger said.

There is no state oversight or registry for the approximately 300 police dogs in Massachusetts, but Foisy said training and annual certification through a reputable organization or police or sheriff’s department is essential to the integrity of K9 units.

“When you go into court, you need to have the paperwork and justification for how you know what your dog is telling you is correct, and that’s through training and maintenance,” he said.

I encourage you to click on the link  below to read more about the extremely valuable training work that Foisy, Ballinger and many others are doing. Get a history lesson and learn some interesting facts, for example:

  • Learn how in 1903 Ivan Pavlov studied conditioned response in salivating dogs. A
  • Learn how today’s police dogs are trained for “detection not destruction” of evidence.
  • Food and veterinary care average about $800 a year, depending on the department  and health of the dog. Ashland Animal Hospital, for example, provides care for  Dax at no cost.
  • The cost for starting a K9 unit ranges from several thousand dollars to $50,000,  depending on who breeds the dog, where it goes for training and the equipment  the department needs.

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Jessica Trufant can be reached at 508-634-7556 or

Link to the news report: HERE

About Bill Booth

Authority on Strategic Business Planning For Public Safety, Police and Fire Training Centers. President of the Interact Business Group and Managing Editor at
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5 Responses to Trained Police Dogs In Big Demand

  1. Darren Alexander says:

    About us:

    Grown from the need of well trained and
    professional security and detection dogs for the private and Law enforcement
    sectors, Safety and Security Management united a proven network of
    professionals. Through solid partnerships with K9 providers, trainers and
    handlers we are fully competent to produce the best results tailored made to
    the clients current operational requirements. With over 40 years of
    combined experience we offer professionalism and a proven track record to meet
    with all the expectations of our clients.


    Safety and Security Management specializes in providing worldwide
    assistance and International Sales of trained or untrained security dogs direct
    form our international strategic partners both in the UK and Belgium. Safety and
    Security Management are a reliable source for the following breed of dogs. That all
    come from working lines.

    Belgian Shepherd (Malinois),

    Dutch Sheppard (Hollandse Herder)

    German Sheppard (Alsatian)

    Having been operational handlers
    and Trainers to the worlds Police, Military, and Rescue organisations we can
    provide you with the following services ranging from;

    – Sales and delivery of trained
    security dogs

    – Dual Purpose dogs

    – Sales and delivery of trained
    SAR dogs

    – Sales and delivery of trained
    EDD and drug detector dogs

    – Training of dogs on site

    – Training of handlers with or
    without dog

    – Special advice on security K9 techniques

    – K9 unit training for Law Enforcement,
    Security and Military teams

    All our dogs come complete with full medical, X –
    rays and European pet passports including vaccinations, tick and worm
    treatments. As well as all other relevant documents and international health
    certificates for each dog. All dogs are guaranteed fit for the purpose and have
    been medically guaranteed for a period of 12 months against hip, spine and
    elbow problems. Our policy is that should in the unlikely event that the dog
    will not perform after initial consultation we would exchange the dog for

    Type of Dogs we train and deploy:

    Belgian Shepherd (Malinois)

    In Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, as well
    as in the United States, Canada and Australia, the Malinois is bred primarily
    as a working dog for
    personal protection, drug and explosive detection,
    work, search and rescue The United States
    Secret Service and Royal Australian
    Air Force use the breed exclusively. The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz
    of the Israel
    Defense Forces. Oketz favors the slighter build of the Malinois over that
    of the Rottweiler which
    was employed formerly. Malinois are the perfect size to be picked up by their
    handlers, while still being able to attack their enemies and for their shorter
    coats and fair and neutral colors making them less prone to heatstroke, all
    these are advantages over the previously used dog breeds.

    Dutch Shepherd (Hollandse Herder)

    The short-haired Dutch
    Shepherd is used extensively throughout Europe and the United States as a
    working dog, primarily in police service, including search and rescue.
    Dutch Shepherds and similar sized working breeds such as the Belgian
    Malinois are increasingly popular with police agencies because they are
    smaller than German Shepherds, and therefore easier for handlers to physically pick
    up and carry. Dutch Shepherd Dogs are ideal to compete in dog agility trials, fly ball, Schutzhund, tracking,
    and herding events. The Dutch Shepherd Dog has established itself alongside such
    well-known working breeds as the German Shepherd Dog and the Belgian Shepherd
    Dog (Malinois).

    German Shepherd

    German Shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence a trait for
    which they are now renowned. They are considered to be the third most
    intelligent breed of dog Coupled with their strength, this makes the breed
    desirable as police, guard, and search and rescue dogs, as they are able to
    quickly learn various tasks and interpret instructions better than other large
    breeds. German Shepherds are a very popular selection for use as working
    dogs. German Shepherds are highly active dogs, and described in breed
    standards as self-assured

    All three breeds of
    dog shown above clearly display a strong and loyal work ethic and are capable
    of performing both single and dual purpose roles By
    using Dual Purpose dogs will help to reduce the number of the current dogs that
    you have at present. Not only saving on costs but eliminating dogs that have
    not been worked for a long period of time, gaining extra deployment strength by
    having dual purpose K9, s that can be used as a narcotic detector and a
    protection (GP) dog without changing the handler.

    and English Springer Spaniels

    Both breeds are
    easily trained and suitable for all types of single purpose detection work such

    Explosives or
    Drug detection combined with the dogs
    natural hunt drive make it a good choice for Airports and Seaports these dogs are widely used by Police
    and Military the world over.

    Labradors and English
    Springer Spaniels are also suited for all customs and USAR work as well. These dogs
    are of a placid temperament and are not suitable for protective (GP) role.

    Detector Dogs.

    Narcotic Detector Dogs are available as either a
    ‘passive’ or ‘aggressive’ indicator, depending on the intended deployment. We
    are able to offer assistance and advice in this respect prior to the decision
    being made on the choice of indication required from your drug detector dog.

    Narcotic Detector Dogs are offered with the
    following narcotic odours:




    Cocaine (Both Crack and Powder)

    Bomb / Explosive
    Detector Dogs.

    The Bomb Detector Dogs are trained on all
    commercial, military explosives etc. The details of which are available on
    request. Due to the sensitive nature of training and developing these explosive
    detector dogs, it is felt that further information should not be available on
    this open forum.

    Dual Purpose Dogs.

    We provide dual purpose K9 with skills combining
    elements of expertise. These dogs are fully trained G.P. K9s who are also
    trained in the detection of Narcotics OR Explosives.
    This presents a significant up-front cost savings compared to acquiring
    multiple dogs as well as long term savings of the sustaining costs associated
    with handling and maintaining a multiple dog Police K9 unit. This is of
    particular advantage for smaller police departments, embassy compounds and
    government buildings where a single dog might be required to be multi-faceted
    rather than a specialist in one particular skill-set.

    We at Safety and Security Management having been
    operational handlers, take this business seriously, we are always available to
    provide assistance and advice to any Government agency that has the need of
    specialized working dogs or the need to re – train and evaluate current
    handlers and dogs.

    We would be
    happy to offer your organization valuable help and assistance in maximizing the
    benefits of deploying well trained and bred dogs that are excepted into our
    training programs after various tests have been conducted to assess the potential of each and every dog prior to
    being trained in the varying roles.

  2. bob says:

    How uncommon is it to train your dog to compleatly sniff out marijuana in a hour ?? Well just did that !! I can hide in anything, in my home, bring him into that room, than than 30 sec…… got it !!!!

  3. Gena Benikhis says:

    Good Day!
    I know this is an old post, but I’m doing some research to see how practical would it be for me to train my new puppy (Bloodhound) for drug detection work in order to possibly start my own private business. it’s something I always was interested in doing but I’m not in law enforcement. Any info would be appreciated.

  4. Kylie Dotts says:

    It’s interesting how you said that K9 units will probably be used in higher demand during large public events. I think that it makes a lot of sense that as threats have increased over the years things like explosive detection dogs would become more important in lessening those threats. By having them present during large public meetings and events it would help prevent serious disasters from happening.

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