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Inside the Dallas Police Canine Unit

City

Dallas Police K9 Kato | Image by Dallas Police Department/Facebook

The Dallas Police Department’s (DPD) Canine Unit has been around for 61 years, formed in 1961 to aid policing in high-crime areas in the city.

At that time, Sergeant Galen B. Richcreek and Patrolmen S.E. Norman and C.F. Bentley Jr. were selected from over 200 volunteers to become the first canine handlers in the Dallas Police Department.

A canine unit is a specialized group of law enforcement officers who use service dogs to perform the responsibilities of a general police officer. Police dogs help uniformed officers combat crime by tracking and pursuing suspects, subduing suspects, searching for narcotics, and helping to protect officers.

Police departments have to find reputable, trusted, and licensed dog vendors because the department needs certain dogs for certain tasks, such as dogs who can track and sniff for narcotics. Above all else, they need obedient dogs.

“Obedience is the foundation of everything. You’ve got to have good obedience, and then you can start building on everything else on top of it,” said George Prock, senior corporal for the Dallas Police Department’s Canine Unit, speaking to The Dallas Express.

“It begins with finding a vendor and forming a partnership with them. That entails getting a hold of different agencies to find out if they’ve had any success or issues with that vendor,” Prock said.

When selecting dogs for the canine unit, DPD reaches out to multiple agencies across the country.

Currently, the department gets its dogs from a licensed vendor in Florida but would like to find a reputable licensed vendor closer to home to help save on costs.

DPD primarily uses German Shepherds as police dogs. While other dogs, such as Belgian Malinois are also used as police dogs, German Shepherds are regarded as the top all-around dog for law enforcement needs.

“The German Shepherd offers the most balanced needs that we look for in our dogs. It listens well, learns well, it’s got a good temperament, and we can work with it, whereas other dogs can get out there and run and move, but if you try to hold them back, they may not listen as well,” Sergeant Joshua Shipp, the department’s canine supervisor, told The Dallas Express. “German Shepherds seem to be the best pick for most agencies and certainly for ours.”

A police officer’s job is often difficult, but officers like Shipp and Prock have their reasons why they are proud to wear the shield.

“I just love working with dogs,” said Prock. “And I love catching bad guys and putting them in jail.”

“I grew up in and around Dallas,” said Shipp. “I’ve got family in Dallas, so becoming a police officer gave me the opportunity to give back to the community I grew up in.”

Prock has been with the department for 20 years and the Canine Unit for eight years. Shipp has been with the department for 15 years.

The Dallas Police Department’s Canine Unit has 10 active service dogs.

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Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
1 month ago

What a great partner to have!