The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit is a valuable resource utilized by its members and other law enforcement agencies in the community.
In most states, a police dog is considered a full-fledged police officer, sometimes even given a badge. As such, most laws find assaulting a police dog to be equal or very similar to assaulting a human officer. The psychological effect of a law enforcement Canine is tremendous, and their deterrent effect on crime cannot be measured. The Canine is not to replace Police Officers, but to work as a member of a Canine/Handler Team.
The Canine’s remarkable smelling and hearing senses are the main reason we utilize canines. These senses combined with their speed and agility allow the canines to perform functions that the human Police Officer just cannot do.
A Canine Team consists of a canine deputy and his assigned agency canine partner. The team is available for assignments 24-hours per day. Canine team duties include their law enforcement duties as any other deputy, 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 giving the public a better understanding of what the team is unutilized for.
Each Canine Team will go through a patrol training program at a minimum of 400 hours. Once the program is completed, the Canine Team will have to certify with the State of Florida and/or the United States Police Canine Association. Once the Canine Team passes certification, the Team can then perform his patrol duties. In addition to the patrol program, Canine’s have dual roles and will also go through an additional 200 hours of either narcotic or explosive training. Once this training is completed, the Canine Team again will have to certify with the United States Police Canine Association prior to be utilized on patrol.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office Training Facility is located on 850 acres of land and is a multi use facility for recreation such as biking, hiking, horse back riding and etc.
The Training Facility has proven to be a tremendous asset to the unit. This facility allows the Team’s to train in obedience, agility, box searches, tracking, and apprehension work, along with any other training issues. The Canine Unit can also be seen training through out Leon County.
The Canine Unit is supervised by a working Canine Sergeant, a Patrol Lieutenant and the Patrol Bureau Commander, who is responsible for staffing and overall operations of the unit.