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K-9 Unit
Photo of K9 KantoPhoto of K9 SammyThe South St. Paul Police Canine Unit serves the citizens and law enforcement officers of South St. Paul, as well as the surrounding community. The mission of the Canine Unit is to provide a highly trained canine team to serve the citizens of South St. Paul, as well as its police officers.

The South St. Paul Police Canine Unit is trained as a patrol / apprehension team and patrols the city streets as any other officer. Although the Canine Unit works a normal schedule, it is available to the Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as needed.

Canine Selection
The South St. Paul Police Department acquires its canines from the St. Paul Police Department Canine Training Unit. Each canine is tested for the required temperament and drive that are useful in police work. Once the canine is selected, the team attends a rigorous 12-week school to teach the canine and handler the duties expected of them during their career together in police work.

Certification of the Canines

After they have graduated from their school and received their initial certification, each police officer and canine companion undergo countless hours of continuing and ongoing training. The team participates in annual Canine Trials and must maintain certification for continued deployment on the street.

Photo of Officer Wicke and K9 Rocky September 23 2004Photo of K9 TigerCanine Handlers

Each canine in the South St. Paul Police Department goes home with his handler every day. It is felt the dogs are more socialized by being around the officer's family, and also stay healthier when not kenneled with other animals where disease and illness can be spread easily.

Retirement
Police canines are owned by the city. When the canine companion reaches the time of retirement, however, the handler is afforded the opportunity to adopt his/her partner so the canine can spend his remaining years with his handler and family.

A police canine can be expected to work the street for an average of seven to nine years before retirement. The working lifetime of each individual dog depends solely on the dog's physical ability and health. There are a lot of physical demands placed on the dog, as well as the handler during a canine team's career.

Photo of K9 BearPhoto of K9 DukePurchasing & Training

Throughout the history of the South St. Paul Police Department Canine Unit, one adage has held true. Not many can remember the name or face of the canine handler, but all can remember the name and look of the canine.

The purchase and training of Police Canines is expensive. The Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post #295, Gallagher-Hanson Post #295, Hrvatski Dom. Assn. (Croatian Hall), and many private donors have graciously supported the South St. Paul Police Department Canine Unit since its inception.

Without their continued support, as well as the support of the entire community, we would be unable to provide this service to our citizens.

Officer Pince and K9 Wolf 1980Effective Tools in the Fight Against Crime

Police canines have proven to be an effective and efficient tool in the fight against crime. A properly trained and handled canine team affords the citizens of South St. Paul one of the finest less-lethal aids in the prevention and detection of crime.