The mission of the Precinct 5 Canine Unit is to provide highly trained police canines to assist in the prevention and detection of crimes, answer calls for service and to locate persons who are being sought or lost.
Law enforcement agencies all over the United States have long recognized the value of properly trained police service dogs. The police K-9, due to its strength, agility, courage, and other amazing capabilities, can be utilized to assist law enforcement in various tasks in many ways. Because of their attributes, police service dogs can be utilized to assist in searching for and the apprehension of potentially violent criminals. At times the K-9s are used to locate missing persons/children, track suspects from crime scenes, locate evidence and perform searches for hiding persons.
In general, the patrol K-9 is used to enhance the capability of patrol deputies responding to calls, to provide physical back-up when necessary and to provide psychological support. In potentially dangerous situations, a police K-9 can offer an incredible advantage by locating a hiding suspect, therefore, possibly preventing exposure of a police officer to a violent confrontation or at least giving the officer an indication a confrontation is immediately forthcoming. Just the mere presence of the K-9, most times, dynamically changes the suspects thinking and causes surrender.
Precinct 5 police dogs have been trained and are certified yearly to detect the presence of the odor of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine. The ability of the police K-9s to locate concealed narcotics contraband rests with two major qualities. The first is the dog’s amazing olfactory or sense of smell capability. When this remarkable sense is coupled with the dog’s strong play and hunting drives, the dogs are taught to associate the scent of specific narcotics with their “reward” or “toy.”
To earn this reward, the dogs are trained to search boxes, rooms, yards, automobiles, buses, truck trailers, open areas and hundreds of other locations where there is a likelihood that someone may have hidden narcotics and give a particular indication. The K-9s are never allowed to come into contact with the narcotics as they are very dangerous to K-9s.
The Harris County Constable Precinct 5 K-9 Unit constantly looks for areas to train. If you have an area such as a commercial building that is not occupied, an outdoor large fenced area, vacant apartments, a pipe yard, truck parking areas or other such areas where training can take place, please let us know. We strive to find facilities that are suitable for training or are going to be torn down or remodeled.
We train every week and make rounds to our different training areas so as to change the environment for the K-9s. Upon approval we also allow other agency’s K-9 units to use the area. In return, the mere presence of police K-9s and their handlers at your property deters crimes because the criminals never know when we are coming.
There are several non-profit K-9 support organizations in the Houston area that provide training, equipment and K-9s to law enforcement agencies both here and across the nation. We are very proud of them. If you have the desire to learn more please contact them. Please click on one of the below links to learn more about their organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are the dogs when they’re not on duty?
Precinct 5 K-9s are kept at the handlers home in a comfortable kennel where they enjoy shade and have access to cool water at all times. K-9s are kept in an area separated from the public view and handlers are required to have the kennel in an area that allows the k-9 to rest when off duty.
What about when they’re done being ‘police dogs’?
Precinct 5 follows State and Federal law in retiring a K-9 from service. Family unity is important to these four legged deputies and their home with their handler is all they know. Therefore, the K-9, subject to Commissioners Court approval, is kept by the handler. If for some reason the K-9 is not able to stay at the handler’s house, it is offered to other members of the K-9 unit or other members of the agency.