CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — Dual-purpose K-9s have the ability to find objects typically hidden from the human eye.
Here, Corporal Stephen Harger trains with five-year-old German Shepherd K-9 Joris to simulate finding items a suspect has dropped while running away from a scene. This scenario offers two items for K-9 Joris: a gun and a metal object about the size of a small screwdriver.
According to the Phoenix Veterinary Center, a dog has 50 times more olfactory receptors than people. That’s 300 million to our six million. Plus, the part of the dog’s brain designated to process the information is 40 times greater than humans.
Cpl. Harger took Joris downwind of the objects before delivering commands to search.
“The airflow is really key. Even on a traffic stop, I’m always looking at wind,” said Harger.
This training is important according to Harger, because suspects often drop things when running away.
“He’s trained to find the articles and to continue on the path to track,” said Harger.
Those items are marked for investigators to collect into evidence.
Joris looks as if he’s chasing a mouse. His movements look erratic as he runs in circles and back and forth through a field in front of the sheriff’s office. Then all of a sudden, he lays down and waits for Harger. In both cases, Joris ran around a group of us and kept working without being distracted.
NOTE: DO NOT approach any service animal while they are working. Whether the animal is on a mission with the police or working with a person with disabilities, always ask the animal’s handler if you may interact with the animal.