DOUGLAS COUNTY, NV - Criminals beware; Douglas County will have new crime-fighting dogs on the street within days. They're expected to certify for patrol Saturday, and their paws will meet the pavement soon after.
"Sheriff's department police K9. Stop right now i'll send my dog; he'll find you and bite you," said Douglas County Deputy John George as he was trying to chase down a decoy suspect with his police dog.
The training is very similar to what a K9 officer will experience every day in the field.
"They do what we tell them when we tell them and how we tell them. They don't act on their own," said George.
The relationship between K9 and handler doesn't just happen overnight. These two have been training constantly for the last five weeks. The training continues for life; it takes constant practice to keep up the skills of biting, narcotics detection and suspect search.
"Our main purpose is search. A police dog's main job is to find people hiding from whatever crime they have committed," said Brain Howard, K9 trainer.
Much of the dog's training involves a bite. But in the field, the dogs really don't have to bite. Most suspects give up just when the dog makes an appearance.
"People are more than willing to fight the cops. But when the dog's head pops out, everybody kinda chills out and comes back. It just comes back to that primal fear of people don't want to get bit by a dog," said George.
When the dogs and their handlers hit the street next week, they'll work a normal patrol, but their duties are anything but normal. K9 officers are the first to respond to any big event.
"Especially in the rural area where we are, we have so many open fields and farmlands, or if you go to a building search and you get a burglary in progress or something like that. Usually the first thing they will do is call for the K9," said George.
Douglas County's canines are paid for by donations. They cost about $7,500 a piece plus training.