K9 Unit

k9_logoThe Billings Police Department’s Canine (K-9) Unit is assigned to our Operations Division. Team members are among the most dedicated and motivated in all of BPD. When shootings, robberies, in-progress burglaries or other hot calls are dispatched our K-9 teams are generally amongst the primary responders.

The Canine Unit offers a specialized resource to the Department through the professional utilization of an effective law enforcement tool, the Police Service Dog. The mission of the Canine Unit is to enhance the Department’s efforts in crime prevention and detection, criminal apprehension, officer safety, and service to the community.

K-9 teams are regularly utilized to: assist in criminal apprehensions, track suspects across varying terrain, detect narcotics inside vehicle or structures, act as back-up, handler protection, locate evidence and provide citizens with PR demonstrations of their abilities.

BPD is currently allotted three K-9 teams, two are dual purpose teams; meaning the canines can both detect narcotics and locate and apprehend suspects.  The other team is single purpose; they are certified in detecting narcotics only.

The relationship between the handlers and their canine partners is unparalleled in law enforcement. Both the handler and the canine prepare constantly for the rigors and inherent dangers of their job. As a result a bond between the two is forged that handlers equate to that of best friend, a brother or even that of their child. Not only do they work and train together, they live together and canines become part of the handler’s immediate family. This relationship is the cornerstone to the unit’s success.

All K-9 teams must be evaluated and certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) before they are deemed to be patrol ready. The teams re-certify annually to ensure that they have maintained the highest level of proficiency.

Our canines are tremendous ambassadors to our community and are often seen at public events throughout the city. Much like people, canines themselves have very individual personalities. Some are serious some are not. Some are approachable and others are definitely not.  Without the explicit knowledge and consent of a handler you should never attempt to contact a police canine. Our canines are typically purchased through Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania, which imports them from breeders in Europe. They are selected based on size, temperament, drive, willingness to work and several other tests.

Many times, BPD will receive monetary donations from local businesses and community organizations to aid in purchasing of the dogs.  Recent notable donors have been Phillips 66, Scheels, Exxon-Mobile, and several local private citizens.

If you have further questions about the K9 unit, would like to request a community demonstration, or are interested in possibly sponsoring a K9 team, please contact Sgt. Weston at the email listed in the side bar.