A day in the life of a K-9 officer - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

A day in the life of a K-9 officer

(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)
DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) -

Police dogs can see hear and smells things we can't, making them a valuable tool in the field. It's a job that demands a lot, but after getting an inside look at what these K-9's can do, there's really nothing they can't handle. 

Monday is training day for the Beauregard Sheriff's Office K-9 division. 

To keep their bites and noses sharp, they meet at Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy for a rigorous training session once a week. 

Twitter is a Dutch Shepherd and hails from Holland. 

"When we got Twitter, we had to go through training to learn how to speak Dutch to learn how to pronounce things it makes it easier on the dog," said Charles McKinney, a K9 Patrol Deputy with the Beauregard Sheriff's Office. "The dog already knows that language and it's easier for us to learn their language than to retrain them

He has been training with Twitter for a year. 

Always on call, 24 hours a day, Twitter specializes in narcotic detection, tracking, and criminal apprehension. 

"He's a police officer like any of the other guys on shift," said McKinney. "He is just like us. He's a cop."

The relationship is much more than a handler and his dog. They're partners and friends. 

"He is my partner 24-y," said McKinney. "He rides around with me - anytime I'm on duty or inside my unit, Twitter is always with me. He looks out for us he's like our guardian. He's like a guardian angel."

Twitter is McKinney's first K-9 partner and they work well together, with four to five narcotics cases a month. 

Speaking of working well together:

BPSO K-9 Patrol Deputy Nicholas Smythe says although K-9 Turk is a Dutch Shepherd, he doesn't come from Holland like Twitter - He's a rescue, trained in-house. 

"Me and him kind of clicked together and we work out great," said Smythe. "We've taught him from the ground up, so it's kind of weird how it worked out, but I'm glad it did."

Smythe and Turk have been training together for a year. Turk is certified in narcotics detection, but he's training to be a dual-purpose dog like Twitter…

"I don't think he's going to have a problem, he does very well," said Smythe. 

Smythe says he's earned himself a nickname or two, like "Land Shark" and "Velociraptor."

"Even with the pipes that we train with, we call it the typewriter. He'll work it up and down, up and down, so you got to watch your fingers," said Smythe. 

You don't want to be on the other side of that bite.

"He's always ready for a challenge," said Smythe. "He's always ready, he's usually more ready than I am. Every time I ask him to do something, he's always pushing himself and he pushes me also. We're both learning, we're both training and with me being a young handler, also we teach each other. That's just what a partnership is all about."

Floor may not be lean or mean, but she has quite the nose. At 9 years old, she's still a crime-fighting machine.

Aaron Broussard, a school resource officer supervisor and K-9 handler, has been training with Floor for a year-and-a-half and just in the first year alone, she is credited with 25 drug busts. 

"When she finds the drugs, she'll show you and if you watch her face, she pretty much smiles when she finds the narcotics," said Broussard. 

Floor got her name while she was serving two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq - as in hit the floor because she was so accurate. She is credited with saving 250 soldiers' lives.  

She brings happiness to others like Broussard. Her previous partner, Darrell Marler, passed away in November. 

"Every time when she makes a find, even in training, I'll think of him," said Broussard. "I know he's smiling, he's happy. Whenever we make a narcotics find or a money-find pertaining to narcotics, I'll always think 'thank you' for him donating the dog to me."

Floor fills in for the other dogs and responds to calls when she and Broussard are closest. She also goes to schools and interacts with children.

"At home, she's just like a regular a kid to us," said Broussard. 

These three dogs may seem tough, but at home, they're just as fun and loving as the next dog. 

"He relaxes, he chills on the couch, watches TV," said McKinney. "We play together, we do things together. If I get up and go to the store, I bring him with me. If I'm outside, playing with the kids, he's outside playing with the kids."

Although they may not like to think about the burden that comes with the badge, it is a reality. 

"It would be like losing one of my members of family," said Smythe. It's our job, the thought is always in the back of our minds. It would be devastating, it would be horrible. It's something that I don't like to think about

When asked how they describe their dogs, they say eager, determined, and extremely loyal. But above all, their best friends. 

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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