LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– 8 News Now went exclusively behind the scenes with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s K-9 Unit Wednesday to learn more about what these dogs bring to our community.
With the wag of his tail and the flash of a smile, K-9 Officer Arko, one of Metro’s finest, is ready for anything.
“He doesn’t really have any off days,” Officer Arko’s handler, Sergeant Eric Hutchason told 8 News Now. “He is just always ready to go do his job.”
Sgt. Hutchason gave 8 News Now a look inside the K-9 unit and showed us what dogs like Arko could do.
“I get dressed, and he sees my greens,” Sgt. Hutchason added, speaking of his uniform. “Just, he knows it’s time for work.”
Patrol dogs like Arko go first in dangerous situations to stop someone with a weapon and prevent deadly force.
“They drastically reduce officer-involved shootings,” Sgt. Hutchason explained, as he said K-9 officers would bite a suspect in many situations, so an officer does not have to shoot him.
He and other dogs on the force also bring invaluable skills, like drug, cadaver, and suspect detection through their sense of smell.
“If it smells like it, they are going to go to it, and whatever I have trained him to smell,” Sgt. Hutchason explained of Arko’s senses. “He is going to alert me to ‘that thing you have trained me to smell is right here.'”
However, these four-legged fighters can also get hurt, as several dogs have even been stabbed in the past few years, including K-9 Officer Hunter and K-9 Officer Kimura.
Luckily, both animals survived the attacks and are back on the force. Still, Dr. David Mason, a veterinary surgeon at Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center, said it’s important for officers to know how to help their partners in an emergency.
“These officers are the first point of call in some respects,” Dr. Mason told 8 News Now. “When an animal gets injured.”
He held a clinic Wednesday to teach officers how to step in and help their dogs when the worst happens.
“Anything that they can do to stabilize fractures or punctures, or lacerations can make a difference for what we can do,” Dr. Mason explained. “When they eventually get to a veterinary office.”
It’s just another way to watch out for these partners who bring so much and do their best to keep Las Vegas safe.
“They keep us safe,” Sgt. Hutchason concluded. “But they also keep the people safe that they are out there confronting.”
Officer Arko is one of many LVMPD police dogs competing in the Las Vegas Police K-9 trials in March 2022.
The department’s K-9 unit also has a 2022 calendar for sale, with all proceeds benefitting The LVMPD Foundation.
To purchase yours, click here.