Since 1982, the Pinellas Park Police Department's K-9 Unit has provided a number of invaluable support services to the agency's mission. Assigned to the Special Operations Division, the agency currently employs three canine teams; Officer Weaver and K9 Tank, Officer Pringle and K9 Nyko, and Officer McCullough and K9 Luuk. Imported from Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands, the working canines are paired with a handler and sent to a seventeen week canine patrol school. Upon graduation, the canine team is assigned to assist the Patrol Division with calls for service such as: burglary, robbery or other in progress crimes; a crime where a subject has fled from the scene on foot; an open door or open window on a building necessitating a building search; a lost or missing person or child; situations where a large areas need to be searched for evidence or contraband; and large, unruly crowds of people where the dog can provide protection for officers.
The canines are "cross-trained" or dual certified to perform patrol functions and narcotics detection. After completing an eight week narcotics detection school, the canine teams can assist Patrol with narcotics searches and the Vice/ Narcotics Division with search warrants, narcotics searches, and currency exams.
The canine teams devote over forty hours a month to advanced patrol and drug detection training, and practice fundamental and scenario based exercises. The working dogs are also on a strict diet and their health is monitored closely by the handler and the department's veterinarian. The police canines also live with the handler and their families.
Specially equipped with the tools they need to succeed, the K-9 cruisers are also modified to ensure the safety of the dogs at all times. Additionally, through the generous donations of local businesses and private citizens, and the hard work of the Police Volunteers, we also have bullet resistant vests for our K-9 partners.