Students taking law classes had the opportunity to meet three police K9s on Mar. 15.
The police dogs were brought in as part of a search and seizure unit. A series of speakers were brought in throughout the unit including judges, attorneys and the K9 units.
The main focus of the unit was the police officers and their K9s as they are the ones who actually conduct searches. Officers Tom Kelly and Gil Fones brought three of the four most commonly used police dogs. They brought a German Shepherd, a Belgian Shepherd and a Bloodhound. The fourth breed of dog that was not brought to the school is a Labrador.
Each dog has a specific purpose and role in the police force. The German Shepherd is used in tight situations to find people in fires and to find narcotics in a crowded setting. Labradors are used to find bombs as they are calm and will sit by a bomb quietly once it has been found. Bloodhounds are for tracking living or dead humans.
Police officers shared what happens during a search and answer questions. Law teacher Fevronia Cresham invites officers Kelly and Fones to the school annually as it is “good [to have] officers that have been on the force for a long time [to] answer student questions,” Cresham said.
Police officers shared their stories and experiences with the students as well as information about the dogs and some of their abilities. A dog’s sense of smell is so strong that a dog can recognize individual components in something like a baked good. For example, if there are cookies baking, humans could recognize the smell of cookies baking, but a dog has the ability to smell and recognize the ingredients inside the cookies such as sugar and flour.
The opportunity for students to interact with the K9s was beneficial because it provided a memorable experience and educated students. “Animals are not just pets, they are useful and they are capable of doing many things,” senior law student David Mejia said.
K9 units have been a part of the police force in Rockville for decades. According to the Montgomery County website, the K9 unit was founded in 1961 and there is a written record of every dog who has died serving this country alongside their officer’s name. This hall of heroes reminds people that animals are a benefit to society, not just as pets.