Tucson Police Dept. K9 unit makes a difference on the streets - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Police Dept. K9 unit makes a difference on the streets

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The Tucson Police Department (TPD) has a K-9 Unit that's making a difference. Whether it is sniffing out drugs, or getting dangerous felons off the street, this unit is a huge asset to the department. 

"The dogs are what we call patrol-enhancers," said Sgt. Paul Sheldon, K-9 Unit Supervisor. "They can do things human beings can't do obviously. Their ability to smell is their primary purpose. They can find things that human beings can't find and they can do it safer. They can do it out in front of the officers ."

Each K-9 is a dual purpose dog so they can detect narcotics and they do patrol work. 

Stats for the month of June show they had more than 90 deployments. A “deployment” is the removal of a dog from the patrol car for any legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Sheldon says there are many success stories, but one stands out from years ago when they were searching tirelessly for a criminal. A dog was able to sniff him out and find him under a piece of metal underground. 

"There's no way we would have found that without the dog," Seldon said. "We were like this guy's not here, let's leave, but it ended up being a very violent felon and we got him off the streets that night."

But though the dogs work, they still like to play and relax just like any dog. 

There are 9 K-9 pups in total and some of them even have Twitter accounts

They are not only keeping drugs and criminals off the street and away from the public, they are also keeping officers safe. 

"When the dog is going in and doing say a building search for example... If we didn't have the dog to go into that building, we're sending officers into that building and if there's someone laying in that building waiting to ambush, the officers don't have the advantage of getting in there with speed and ability to smell them out prior to the bad guy being able to see anything that's happening," Sheldon said. 

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