Police dogs provide crucial law enforcement services to the citizens of Hot Springs by enhancing the department’s ability to combat illegal drugs within the community and by assisting officers in locating hidden or fleeing suspects. The use of these trained dogs when dealing with criminal acts involving potential violence reduces the risk of injury to officers and others. K9's are capable of searching a crime scene for evidence and they are experienced in finding lost children or elderly persons that may have become disoriented. Along with performing their normal patrol duties these canine "officers", along with their human partners, occasionally showcase their talent by demonstrating their skills for public spectators, civic groups and schools.
In September 2011 the police department was able to revamp the K9 unit by acquiring "Keena", a female Belgian Malinois, from USK9 Unlimited in Kaplan, LA. This purchase was made possible by a generous private donation that also provided funding for the purchase of her equipment along with an eight week training course for both the dog and her handler, Officer First Class Brandon Jones. Jones is a five-year veteran of the department who completed the extensive eight week training course at USK9 Unlimited where both he and his partner K9 Keena were certified as a dual-purpose team in narcotics detection and patrol functions.
The newest addition to our K9 Unit is a male Belgian Malinois named "Onyx" who was partnered with Officer First Class Michael Hibbard. Ofc. Hibbard and Onyx also successfully completed the grueling training course at USK9 Unlimited where they too were certified as a dual-purpose team in narcotics detection and patrol functions.
With the continued growth of our K9 Unit the department can now provide the community with continuous police K9 services. The department’s handlers and K9's are all dual-certified in narcotics detection and patrol functions through the National Narcotics Detector Dog Association and USK9 Unlimited, both of which are nationally recognized K9 certification entities. By doubling our K9 Unit we have dramatically enhanced our ability to locate narcotics, assist in investigations, participate in search and rescue operations and provide additional officer safety.
Since October of 2011 the Hot Springs Police Department's K9 Unit has assisted Federal, State, and local agencies in numerous misdemeanor and felony arrests. The K9 Unit has also located various narcotics and evidence which have resulted in multiple arrests and subsequent seizures of vehicles and US Currency.
The goal of the K9 Unit is to continue to improve and be among the top K9 Units in the State. They work toward this goal by conducting a minimum of 16 hours of State certified training per month at the department level and have attended several hours of advanced training including a 40-hour International SKIDDS class. The K9 teams are also required to re-certify annually with USK9 Unlimited and NNDDA.Our K9 Unit has done several public demonstrations for various organizations and groups throughout the county. If you are interested in finding out more about these demonstrations or how you might arrange to have one contact the Hot Springs Police Department’s Public Relations Office.