KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- The Kernersville Police Department has an elite group of K-9 officers that help fight crime.
The four-legged officers are high-energy breeds like German Shepherds and Malinois, though this group also has a Fox Red Labrador.
It's genetically imprinted in these dogs to be intelligent and driven. Only one in 1,500 are capable of doing the kind of work that’s required to be part of the force.
K-9 officers use scent and ground disturbance to find their targets. A dog’s sense of smell is 200,000 times better than a human and they are able to separate scents.
For instance, a pizza smells like pizza to us. To a dog, the scent is flour, salt, tomatoes, cheese, etc. This enables the dogs to find specific scents that may be masked.
There isn’t much that can deter one of these officers from identifying the scent of drugs, even if they are double-wrapped in plastic, air-tight bags or buried in something else with a strong odor.
This special team of officers exceeds industry standards, logging a whopping 20 hours per month in training. That’s in addition to their full load of work and time together off-duty.
The dogs live with their handlers and work between 6 and 9 years before retiring. At that point, they are often adopted by their handlers.
If you'd like to contribute to the K-9 Officers Retirement Fund, a fundraiser called Paws 4 Pints will be held at Doggone Fun in Kernersville on April 22.