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Old 02-23-2012, 05:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice for someone aiming to do k9

The job market in my field (marine biology) is total crap, so I've been considering pursuing the state police-- something I've wanted to do since childhood. I currently work with PP and police dogs. I was curious if anyone had any tips on navigating the long, long road to becoming a k9 officer? How might one get involved in narcotics work? What disqualifies you? I went to OCS for the Marine Corps several years back but was sent home a week before graduation with a torn meniscus. Life happened and I never went back, which is one of my greatest regrets. I'm 27 and in good shape; I can still do very well on the MCPFT. Any advice would be immensely appreciated.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With most departments it's a process. First you have to be selected, attend the school, graduate, spend a period of time with a Field Training Officer (FTO) a time on probation, then a year or two on the streets working as an officer. After that period you would be eligible to apply for special duty, which would include K9. With my department for example (40 dog section) all handlers are volunteers. We have more volunteers than slots available. Handlers, for drug dogs, are selected based on their activity. If a Trooper can't make a drug or DUI case without a dog, a dog sure isn't going to help matters. As far as disqualification, each department has their own standards. Generally speaking any felony conviction, any conviction involving moral turpitude would be automatic dq. Departments give a physical, usually including a pt test and a psych eval. Good luck in your adventure.

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Old 03-01-2012, 02:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for the advice! There are exams coming up for the NH State Police soon....
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just as DFrost said but I will add some...

Most K9 officers are usually your "best of the best" street patrol officers. These are officers that are VERY proactive, make a LOT of self initiated arrests, not "gimme" arrests like shoplifters, domestic violence, etc. I am referring to occupied stolen vehicles, people with illegal weapons, drugs, stolen property...basically have a natural gift for finding people who are doing wrong, using correct PC and RS, etc. and always staying within departmental policy. They also don't need direction from other officers/supervisors to make decisions. They work well with other officers and are great and directing their coworkers...such as setting up perimeters...how big? How small? How many officers do you have available and at what capacity? Which way is the wind blowing? (for tracking) How hot, cold, or damp is it? These are decisions that must be made in seconds, not minutes, if the bad guy is going to be caught.

You must be able to make rational, firm, correct, and SAFE decisions. You need to be a natural leader and not a "follower" type officer. When you work K9, YOU tell your fellow officers what they need to do and where they need to go. The guy with the dog controls the scene per se if it is a "dog call."

You need to have tactical experience/training as most K9 officers work closely with SWAT. A lot of K9 guys are ex SWAT members.

I would say most K9 officers are those that have been great officers and also FTOs themselves for at least 5-10 years PRIOR to putting in for K9. After all, how can you be an effective K9 officer if you are still learning yourself?? From what I have seen/experienced a police officer is finally comfortable with the job and ANY type of call and how to deal with it at about the 10 years of service. When you are K9, you can't turn to your fellow officer or Sergeant and say, "Well, how should I handle this situation?" It is expected that K9 officers know how to deal with just about every given situation with little to no assistance and direct everyone else where to go and what to do. It's the greatest job in the world...just ask any handler; however, you must put in a lot of time first as a street cop.

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Old 03-25-2012, 02:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I've been a Trooper in NC for 5 years now and have yet to be accepted to be a K9 handler even with 10 years of K9 SAR experience. Don't plan on going in and being a handler overnight. It's just not going to happen, anywhere you go.

Also, if you're not in shape, get in shape. We just tracked a dude for 4 miles through briars and all kinds of crap the other day. I run miles every day but by the time we were done with that track, we had caught him, I was toast.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You really need to look at where you are applying. As the troopers can attest, it may be along time before you get a chance if ever to make K9 with state police. Main reason is the large number of people in the agency; the other is do to that number it can be very political as selections are made from accross the state by people at HQ who may not know you. On the other hand a really small department may only have one or two K9's and those officers may love it so much they never go for promotion and stay K9's for 15 years, while your waiting for a shot. Look for a good size agency with a large K9 unit and a department with alot of upward mobility. Then like other have said, be the best patrol officer you can be. At my agency you can put in for K9 after 3 years. Help to have reputation as a hard worker who makes alot of street cases and have some prior experience with dogs, though that is not required - they will teach you. Good luck!
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Hey, I'm looking into becoming an officer myself. Not K9, just a police officer. You can read my thread about that here:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...g-officer.html

If you decide to go for it we should keep in touch.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashpd View Post
Main reason is the large number of people in the agency; the other is do to that number it can be very political as selections are made from accross the state by people at HQ who may not know you.
What?????? Are you saying there is politics in the State Police??? Surely not. ha ha ha. I have a memo somewhere that says all the politics has been removed.

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Old 05-01-2012, 09:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DFrost View Post
What?????? Are you saying there is politics in the State Police??? Surely not. ha ha ha. I have a memo somewhere that says all the politics has been removed.

DFrost



Yes, I saw that memo floating around somewhere up my way, too.
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