BCPD's K9 Unit are a valuable crime fighting team
Seven-and-a-half-year-old Marco has a lot of heart and a big bite when it comes to fighting crime.
Marco and handler Sgt. Mike Williams are one of six units assisting the police department patrol the streets of Bossier City every day. With the holiday season approaching, man’s best friend can be a criminal’s worst nightmare.
Williams said this is their time to shine in the fight against crime.
“Typically during the latter part of the year, armed robberies tend to pick up and the dogs play a big role in criminal deterrence during the holidays,” Williams said. “Their presence alone is often a big deterrent for us.”
The K9 unit’s are a specific breed of dog that comes directly from Belgium. The Belgian Malinois is described by the American Kennel Club as an alert and energetic breed that’s popular with police and military patrol units.
As cute as they may look, the K-9 dogs aren’t the typical family pet. They spend countless hours training with their handler for narcotics calls, human searches, patrol work and obedience.
Before a dog and handler can even begin patrolling, they go through a mandatory 12 week course, resulting in certification and 400 hours of training. The newest dog in town is Santos, a two and a half year old Belgian Malinois.
Handler and patrolman Taylor Brice began training with him eight months ago, but they have already established quite a special bond. When asked why he wanted to work as a K9 officer, Brice simply replied, “why not?”
“It’s something that doesn’t come easy and I like working for things. Having the opportunity to work with a dog, especially in something you already love, just makes it all worthwhile to me.”
Marco, who has been with the Bossier City Police Department since 2006, is a dual purpose dog, working both patrol and narcotics. Williams said K9 dogs are aggressive and very protective of their handlers when they are on duty.
“The dogs will do anything for you and they are not going to back down,” Williams said.
In a building search, Williams said a dog and its handler can clear a big building compared to three or four officers. A dog's agility and keen sense of smell gives police the upper hand in foot pursuits or searches, particularly at night.
Not only is it generally faster, but it’s safer for everyone involved.
“Our number one priority is officer safety. That’s what we are here for,” Williams said. “These dogs are trained, valuable assets to this community.”
Williams also noted a good partnership with the Shreveport Police Department. Between the two cities, there are 16 total K-9 units in the area ready to go at a moments notice.
Williams said the handlers from Bossier and Shreveport train together weekly, reinforcing a strong police force that’s ready to protect the citizens.
“If they ever needed something, they can call us. If we need assistance, they will come and help us,” Williams said. “All of the handlers work well together since we train together.”
When they aren’t fighting crime, Marco and Santos are with their handlers at home. In his eight years as a K9 officer, Williams said it’s almost like having another child.
“I can’t describe with words the kind of relationship you build with your dog,” Williams said.
Brice agreed, saying it’s a 24 hour, seven day a week job that he enjoys doing with a very loyal partner.
“I love doing this because I get the best of both worlds,” he said. “I can patrol, work with a dog and I’m still protecting the streets. I can’t see myself doing anything else.”