In 1990, the Jackson Police Department recognized the need for a Police Dog to assist officers in the fight against drugs and purchased a detector canine named “Boney." Boney, handled by Inv. Mark Smith, was responsible for the seizure of nearly a million dollars in cash, vehicles and narcotics over his nine year career. Due to the success of the K-9 program, as well as the increase in the illegal drug trade, the frequent encounters police have with violent offenders, and the unfortunate incidence of terrorist activity within the U.S., the department has, over the years, increased the size and capabilities of the K-9 Unit.
Police Service Dogs of the Jackson Police Department
The Jackson Police Department currently has four Police Service Dog/Handler teams. Three of the dogs are trained for dual purpose (patrol and detection) duty, and one is single purpose (detection) trained. The patrol training of the dogs enables them to track and apprehend violent suspects. This training also encompasses locating hidden suspects in structures as well as locating items (guns, knives, etc.) the suspect may have discarded or hidden from officers. The detection training of the police dogs teaches them to detect specific odors emitted from substances that would be either illegal to possess (drugs) or dangerous to the public (explosives). A dog's sense of smell allows it to detect a world of odors undetectable by humans. As previously stated, the Police Service Dogs of the Jackson Police Department are trained to detect and alert to the presence of many illegal and dangerous substances. These include but are not limited to the following:
- Black Powder
The police service dogs of the Jackson Police Department are held to a very high standard of training. Each dog and handler receives very extensive initial training upon starting their assignment with the K9 unit. This training is followed by weekly testing and scenario-based training to keep the dog/handler team sharp. The dogs and handlers also must pass a yearly certification in their fields of expertise administered by an independent certifying agency.
The K-9 Unit is assigned to the Special Operations Division of the Jackson Police Department. Primarily acting in a support role, the K-9 Unit assists Patrol as well as the other divisions of the department to deal more safely and efficiently with the problems they face. The unit is often times also called to assist other local, state, and federal agencies.