Alameda Police Department
The Alameda Police Department K9 Program was started in 1992.
It has had a great amount of success and has been permanently
implemented into the Patrol Unit. As of recent, our dogs have been
imported from Holland. They are Belgian Malinois (pronounced Mal-in-wah).
This breed originated as herding dogs, much like German Shepherds,
but are renowned for their high drive.
Currently there are three canine teams: Officer Rech and Duke, Officer Guillen
and Mido (pronounced Me-doh), and Officer Abenoja and Billy. Before the dogs
and handlers can begin their patrol assignments, they must go through a 16 week
training course and pass a certification process at the end of the course to
ensure they meet the requirements set forth by the California P.O.S.T. (Police
Officer Standards and Training) After the team passes their certification,
they will then complete weekly training sessions to maintain their skills.
They must then go through a yearly certification to ensure that each dog
team has maintained their skills.
Each Officer and dog team brings a special element to the unit. Each canine
team is certified for dual purpose work, which includes patrol tactics and
narcotic detection. Patrol tactics consists of duties such as area searches,
building searches, tracking, article searches, handler protection and physical
apprehension. Narcotic detection includes searching for all narcotic substances.
The dogs live at home with the handler, who is responsible for the 24 hour care
and feeding of the police service dogs. They must ensure the dogs are current on
all of their shots, kept in good health, groomed, and exercised.
Handlers are given the option to keep their dogs when they leave the unit or the
dog retires, however, if a handler leaves the K9 unit and his dog is relatively
young, placement with another handler is the more viable option.
There is no specific requirement that police service dog's be male. In fact,
there are surrounding agencies that do have female service dogs. When a dog is
selected for police work, there are very specific behaviors the Police Service
Dog evaluators are looking for. Much of the reason police dogs are primarily
male is that qualified female dogs are usually kept for breeding. A female with
the right genetics, bred with a male with the right genetics, will hopefully
throw a strong litter conducive to a good working dog.