The use of canine teams has proven to be an excellent tool in the field of law enforcement. The dogs have a keen sense of smell that gives them the ability to quickly locate narcotics, people and evidence. The police department maintains three K-9 teams. The three teams are assigned to the Patrol Division. These are uniformed positions, with each officer driving a specially marked K-9 vehicle. The primary role of the police service dog is to aid law enforcement as a locating tool. In the K-9 unit, the police service dogs aid in locating offenders of crimes, lost or missing persons, evidence of crimes, and narcotics detection. All officers are certified through the State of Illinois and nationally through the North American Police Work Dog Association.
The handlers must maintain proficiency of the dog through continuous, ongoing, monthly training to maintain certification standards. Each of the police service dogs live with their K-9 Officer they are partnered with. Daily grooming, feeding, and exercise are typical care and maintenance responsibilities of the handlers in addition to the rigorous specialized training.