Behind The Badge – Bangor PD K9 Patrol Units 

Police officers are trained to use a number of tools to help them do their jobs, including dogs.The Bangor Police Department has 5 K9’s they use, three at the airport, and two on patrol.The officer and the dog spend 24 hours a day together, and can be called out to a wide variety of scenarios.They always have to be ready, for anything.”It’s physically hard, training is hard, it’s a lot of time you put in a lot of time,” said Sgt. Rob Angelo, “But it is very rewarding.”The role of the officer and their K9 partner varies from call to call.”We could do, go right from tracking a suspect right to a guy on the street calling me saying, hey can you walk your dog around a vehicle, so, and then looking for drugs,” said Officer Jason Linkletter. “So we could be doing patrol work and then jump right into drug work.””It’s a fantastic tool,” said Sgt. Angelo. “You saw something today and what they can do in a minute would take an officer hours to search bags the way we did. They can run that dog over these 12 bags in a few seconds and know whether there is or is not drugs in there””Another reason we want the dog is for officer protection,” said Officer Linkletter. “We don’t want the dog to let his guard down, just because, whoever it is, really his loyalty is to me.”Regular training sessions are held to keep not only the dog, but the officer sharp.”I’d like to train the handlers,” said Sgt. Angelo, who used to work with a K9 partner until his recent promotion. “That’s my goal to train those handlers so that they see that when they are on the street, they can see the situation unfold, ‘I’ve been here before, I’ve seen this, I know why my dog is doing this’ so we try to recreate these situations here so that they see them on the road and they can say ‘Yes I’ve seen this before, I know what I’m doing'” And Linkletter agrees on who likely getting more out of the training sessions. “Probably more for me than it is for the dog, cause the dog already knows what his job is. It’s just I have to learn to be able to read the dog and make sure I’m understanding the dog’s behavior, and really clueing in on that.”Sometimes the training is very technical, relating to police work. Other times it’s not.”Sometimes I just have to teach the handlers how to play with the dog, how to get that reaction so that dog knows when I smell this ‘Great Things Happen’ well I have to train the handler to make great things happen for that dog,” said Angelo.When the dog locates a scent, whether it’s a person, an item, or drugs, they react either passively or aggressively. It’s based on their training. The passive dogs will sit or lay down when they find something.”With my dog, he’s an aggressive find dog, which means, with luggage or whatever it might be, he’s going to go at that source and try to get it out” said Linkletter, who works with a 4 and a half year old German Shepard named Lex. “He might bark, he might jump up, he might scratch, like luggage he might bite at it.””That’s why it’s important to know your dog in that, does your, if your dog is an aggressive alert dog, does that dog do that for anything else? And that is why we train this dog, will only go active aggression like we saw, when he smells drugs, nothing else will make him do that,” said Sgt Angelo.Because of the dog’s training and their remarkable sense of smell, they can discern what is in a room and what specifically they are supposed to find, according to Angelo. “They can pick out individual scents, I heard recently, it described as when you walk in you smell stew, a dog smells, celery and salt and pepper and water and meat. That dog knows each individual smell, and if there is also marijuana in the room, he smells that as well, and that is what he is going to go to.”