The Dover Police Department’s Canine Unit is a valuable resource utilized by DPD personnel. A canine team consists of an on-duty canine police officer and his assigned Department canine dog. The team is available for assignments 24-hours per day. Canine team duties include conducting building searches for hidden offenders, locating missing persons, tracking suspects who have fled the scene of a crime, performing article searches, detecting narcotics or explosives, and conducting public service canine demonstrations.
The Dover Police Canine Unit was established in the late 1950’s however, was disbanded until 1988 under Chief Hutchinson. Initially, the department only had a few dogs but through the years the department has grown where the department now has 5 working dog teams.
Each Canine Team is comprised of police officers who serve with their canine partners on a full time basis. Canine Teams are trained for patrol related duties to include, tracking, criminal apprehension, article searches and narcotic detection. Canine Teams are assigned to the Patrol Division.
The handlers live and work with their dogs, and by being so close they become a highly trained, close knit team. The dogs save the citizens of Dover countless dollars as their noses can locate suspects and contraband oftentimes in a matter of minutes. This work would normally take several police officers hours of tedious, dangerous searching.
The canines allow officers to do their work faster, more efficiently, and in a safer manner. In many cases, just knowing the police canine is on scene and the threat exists of the canine being utilized to locate a suspect has caused suspects to surrender without confrontation or additional flight. This saves time, and has undoubtedly saved officers from injury or possibly death by having a desperate, sometimes armed criminal surrender without incident. If the canine was not on scene the suspect may have chosen a violent confrontation with officers, or fled into the community at large rather than risk going to prison. Being able to apprehend these violent individuals quickly and safely brings an added level of safety to the citizens and community we proudly serve.