In order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the Greenville Police Department, the K-9 Unit provides highly trained canine teams to protect persons and property in Greenville, and increase the safety of officers confronting suspects representing a threat.
K-9 teams are a valuable tool in law enforcement. They are used for criminal apprehension, building searches, area searches, evidence detection, narcotics or explosive detection, tracking missing persons, tracking fleeing persons, crowd control, and for promoting favorable public relations.
The K-9 Unit consist of six dog teams and is assigned to the Field Operations Division, under the direction of Sgt. Derek Loftis and Lt. Michael Hammett. The dog teams work regular shifts supporting uniformed patrol officers in their daily patrol activities. Unlike patrol officers, the dog teams are not assigned to a beat and can work the entire city.
This allows the teams to work problem areas and to focus on criminal interdiction. All K-9 units are on-call 24/7 to assist in the detection of contraband and explosives, and to locate missing persons and fleeing criminal suspects. Each dog lives at home with its handler.
Each dog must complete a 600-hour training course with their handlers before they are allowed to work the streets. After the initial training course, the dog and handler are certified through the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). This is a yearly certification that each team must pass to continue working in the community. Dog teams train 10 hours per week to maintain their keen skills.
K-9s Saber, Leo, Sarge, Kylo and Rheumie are dual purpose patrol dogs. These dogs are skilled at drug detection, tracking, building searches, article searches, handler protection, aggression control and obedience. Leo also works with explosive detection units. An additional K-9, Scooter, works exclusively in narcotics detection. Working hand-in-hand with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the K-9 units provide safety and security to the citizens of the Greenville.
K-9 patrol vehicles are equipped with specialized equipment to transport our dogs and keep them safe. The vehicles are equipped with alarms that notify the handler of the temperature inside the vehicle to ensure that it is kept at a comfortable temperature for the dog. The vehicles are also equipped with remote "door poppers," which allow the handler to release their dog in situations where the handler is in trouble or is being attacked.
Our K-9 teams are available to the public to do canine demonstrations and to participate in community functions. They frequently visit schools, churches and businesses to display the unit's abilities. If you would like a member of our team to visit your function please give us a call and we will be glad to assist you. Our dogs and handlers love to show off their skills and professionalism.
If you would like to donate to the Greenville Police Department K-9 Unit, please make your check out to the Greenville Police Department K-9 Fund and send to the address below:
Greenville Police Department
c/o Jeneen Graham
4 McGee Street
Greenville, SC 29601