The Joliet Police Department's K9 Unit was created in 1980. The current unit (2011) has four officers and a Supervisor (a Sergeant) assigned to it. Our Department has three Police Service Dogs and a tracking/trailing bloodhound. Three K9 teams are attached to the Department's Special Operations Squad (SOS/SWAT).
- Officer Robert "Bert" Badertscher #258 (Unit Trainer) and K9 partner "Herro"
- Officer Bruce Trevillian #212 and K9 partner "Tino"
- Officer Darrin Prochaska #279 and K9 partner "Amber" (bloodhound)
- Officer Pete Van Gessel #114 and K9 partner "Biaky"
All K9s are certified annually through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) in obedience, narcotic search, tracking, article/evidence search, aggression, and area search.
Due to the canine's superior sense of smell, hearing, and physical capabilities, a trained law enforcement canine is a valuable asset for a police department to use in order to assist in providing a safe environment for the citizens of the community.
The police canine's main function is as a locating tool:
- Tracking fugitives or lost persons
- Conducting building searches
- Recovery of evidence
- Area searches for criminal suspects
- Narcotic searches
A police canine can also be used to apprehend suspects and be used in crowd control incidents to prevent injuries or property damage.
The police canine is the only weapon an officer can use that can be recalled after being deployed. It also cannot be used against the officer. The canine draws focus to itself without an officer present.
Most police canines are trained to smell for narcotics whether it be during a building or vehicle search. Most, including the Joliet Police Department K9s, will scent for the following:
- Methamphetamines (including ecstasy and LSD)
- Crack Cocaine
The Joliet Police K9s will go into a "passive" alert to show the handler where the source of where the drugs are. This means they will sit down and stare at the source. Other police canines are "aggressive" alert dogs. This means they will dig at the source to find it.
The Joliet Police Department K9s are all trained in tracking. The police service dogs are trained to follow ground disturbances, not odors. For older trails, Bloodhound Amber and Officer Prochaska are called in. The bloodhound follows odor left behind by dropped skin cells.
Building and Area Search
A canine's sense of smell makes it easier to locate hidden suspects. This also saves officers from walking into an ambush.
A canine can scent recently touched/handled items and alert to them. Dropped handguns, stolen wallets or other items have been located by our K9s.