The Richmond Police Department Canine Unit serves the citizens and law enforcement officers of Richmond and the surrounding community. The goal of the Canine Unit is to make police work safer and more efficient for the men and women who patrol the streets through the use of specially trained canines and handlers.
Both the handler and the canine members of the Canine Unit are carefully selected and trained for their duties. The selection of handlers for the Canine Unit involves an extensive, multi-faceted assessment and selection process that includes a physical ability stamina test, home visit/inspection/interview, job performance/records review, and oral board interview.
The Canine Unit is composed of two teams. Each team consists of a Handler and their respective Canine. The Canine Unit is assigned to the Patrol Division and provides canine support services to all Divisions of the Police Department.
Canine services are available at all hours of the day, every day of the week.
Drug Detection Canines
The Drug Detection Canines are trained to locate marijuana, hashish, cocaine base (crack), cocaine hydrochloride (powder), methamphetamines, ecstasy and heroin. The Patrol Canines are utilized to track persons, search buildings for persons, search areas for persons, search for articles, provide handler protection and apprehend criminals when the situation is serious enough and no other means of apprehending the suspect are available. The canines are available to search for lost or missing persons and children as well.
The Canine Unit currently has two Dual Purpose Drug Detection/Patrol Canines. Each canine is trained to perform both the patrol and drug detection function.
The competency of all canine teams are maintained in the areas described above and are tested regularly. The canines undergo a recertification process once a year. The certifying body is the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA). This national organization is involved in the certification process of police canines throughout the nation. The Richmond Police Canine Unit belongs to USPCA Region 5, which includes Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Ohio. Dog teams from these four states come together annually to be certified as well as to compete.
The Canine Unit is active in the community, not only by attempting to make the community a safer place, but also in the area of public demonstrations. The unit provides demonstrations year round to school groups, both public and private, as well as to civic organizations throughout the Bluegrass area. During these demonstrations, drug searches are conducted, as well as basic obedience exercises, article searches, agility tests, and simulated criminal apprehension, where our bad guy actor, wearing protective gear, is stopped by the canine.
Due to current staffing shortages, the Canine Unit consists of only one team at this time.
If you are interested in having the Richmond Police Canine Unit provide a public demonstration or if you have any questions about the Canine Unit, please contact Officer Chip Gray or Major Steve Gregg at (859) 623-1162