By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
Extreme temperatures can be dangerous to dogs.
So when the Charles City Police Department found out its new K-9 narcotics dog, Jordy, had received another grant, they were happy. Their Dutch shepherd can be as comfortable as possible while riding in the backseat of his partner’s squad car.
Jordy, who has been on the CCPD force for about four months, was recently awarded the Handle Alert Package from Protection4Paws, a Pennsylvania-based charity that helps provide items to assist law enforcement agencies.
The equipment is a kit manufactured by AceK9.com, called “No K9 Left Behind.”
The electronic device alerts handlers both by audible and visual warning to open the rear door of a squad car where the K-9 is located and to remove the dog. Only when that happens will the system shut down.
If the handler does not remove the dog, the system will continue to sound inside the vehicle and give a short honk at various intervals to remind the dog’s owner.
“Unfortunately, there are instances where officers have had a long shift and their K-9 may be in the back seat asleep or something,” said Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson. “They’ve gotten out of their vehicle and gone inside after a maybe a midnight shift or something and their K-9 is in there on its own then.
“It ends up succumbing to the elements, where it would normally be the heat,” he said.
“We obviously don’t want that to happen, so the car would be able to run and keep that dog in a climate-controlled environment,” said Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson.
Another facet of the “No K9 Left Behind” is the AceWatchDog, a device that sends status information, warnings and alerts from the heat alarm directly to a handler’s smartphone, tablet or PC. There is a year’s worth of server subscription included in the purchase of the component.
“The nice thing about this one, some of the older units, what they did was they ran the car. Well, if the officer goes in and goes to sleep, his car is sitting there shutting on and off, constantly keeping his dog in a climate-controlled environment,” said Anderson. “This one sends alerts to the cell phone until this is taken care of.”
Anderson said his department purchased additional equipment needed to fully integrate the system into the patrol unit, which ran the total donation to around $1,300. He also said the system could be upgraded in the future.
“These are pretty common. Obviously, there’s a large cost to them. Anything we can have help with, we always appreciate,” Anderson said.
This is just one example of technology benefiting both human and animal law enforcement. Anderson said he remembers in the 1990s when officers could release a K-9 from a squad car through a remote on their belt.
“Electronics have facilitated the use of a K-9 in one way or another,” said Anderson. “Things are a lot different than they used to be.”
Anderson said Jordy will go back to Midwest K-9 at the end of the month to continue his training.
“It’s a never-ending thing. He’ll train, obviously, for the rest of his life,” said Anderson.
Anderson said almost everything associated with Jordy, including the purchase of the dog, has come from either a grant or donation.
That includes the assistance from Dr. John Moellers and the Charles City Animal Clinic, which has pledged to donate all of Jordy’s food, vet care and medication services.
“It’s a huge cost. They did it previously for our K-9, Midnight,” said Anderson. “We’re very, very appreciative of him doing that.”