K-9 Information and History
K-9s can be trained in specific skill sets to help officers detect and confiscate illegal drugs and contraband (“drug dogs”) or explosive materials and devices (“bomb dogs”), as well as providing protection or assisting in tracking wanted or missing individuals ("multi-purpose dogs"), all in an extremely cost-effective manner.
No modern technology has been developed that can replace the effectiveness of a well-trained drug dog. These K-9 teams (the handler and the K-9) are one of the best tools available for contraband interdiction. Trained to detect a variety of drugs – marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, etc. – these dogs can alert to contraband hidden on persons and in cars, homes, businesses, or outdoors. Along with active detection, police K-9s offer an additional deterrent component to the police department’s war on drugs, as drug dealers are often deterred from areas where drug dogs are apt to be utilized or are on patrol.
While working, these K-9s patrol with their handlers and attend to calls as any other officer would. However, when requested, these teams respond to calls where drugs are suspected and can include calls to common traffic stops, calls to homes suspected of drug activity, requests for sweeps through area schools or businesses, and many others. K-9s Ralph serves primarily in this capacity.
Explosives and firearms dogs are trained to detect bombs, the materials used to make explosive devices, and also post-blast evidence. In addition to this training, explosives detection canines can detect firearms and ammunition hidden in containers and vehicles, on persons, or buried underground. K-9 Grumman serves primarily in this capacity.
K-9s that are classified as "Multi-Purpose Dogs" are trained in two or more skill sets. K-9s Brutus and Zaback serve primarily in this capacity, providing drug detection, protection, and tracking abilities.
History of LCPD K-9s
The La Crosse Police Department has utilized police canines (K-9s) since the early 1940's. Originally, the Department worked with local citizen, George Brooks, who raised Bloodhounds for tracking purposes. In the 1980s-90s, several LCPD Officers utilized their own K-9s to assist the department with tracking, protection, and other law enforcement duties.
In 2008, due to a generous donation and successful fundraising campaign, the La Crosse Police Department held our first ever swearing-in ceremony for a police canine, Ralph. Currently, the K-9 Unit is made up of four teams.