The Escondido Police Department K-9 Unit was established in 1985 with two police service dogs with the goal of enhancing the effectiveness of our police officers in searching for and apprehending violent criminals, locating evidence, narcotics and explosive devices. The police service dogs also provide an important community outreach function as the K-9 teams demonstrate their professionalism to schools and community groups throughout the year.
The K-9 Unit currently has seven teams each comprised of an officer-handler and the police service dog. All of the dogs are born, raised and trained in Europe before being brought to the United States. Once a dog is selected for police patrol use, the dog and their assigned handler undergo an additional six-week training program before being certified for patrol work. After the dogs have proven their patrol skills, they are evaluated for additional cross-training for narcotic detection, explosive detection or deployment on the department's tactical team.
Off duty, our police service dogs live at home with their respective handlers becoming an integral part of those families. Contrary to popular belief, police service dogs are selected, in large part, based on their sociability, intelligence and courage. Their obedience and desire to please their handler is the foundation of a reliable police service dog.