Downey Police expanding K9 unit

DOWNEY - The Downey Police Department is expanding its K9 unit by purchasing two service dogs trained to sniff out drugs and apprehend elusive suspects. The canines are in addition to Duke, the department's Labrador retriever specially trained to detect narcotics.

Unlike Duke, the new canines will be able to detect and locate hidden suspects, enhancing officer safety, Police Chief Carl Charles wrote in a report. He also said the presence of a dog decreases the chance of a physical confrontation between a police officer and suspect.

Other benefits, Charles said, are deterrents to criminal behavior; efficiency in locating narcotics and suspects; increased number of apprehensions; reduction in the amount of personnel time spent searching for suspects; and enhanced public relations through public interaction at community and school events.

Cost to purchase the dogs and related training and equipment is $70,000, which will be paid from the department's Asset Forfeiture Fund.

The police chief's report does not list the breed of dogs the department will purchase.

Alderhorst International Inc. is providing the animals. The company specializes in police canine training and has provided dogs and training to more than 500 law enforcement agencies.