The San Marcos Police Department K-9 Division has been active in this department since 1989 and handles a wide variety of tasks in protecting the citizens of San Marcos. Currently, this division is comprised of 2 specially trained officers and their K-9 companions.
Our K-9 Units (officer + dog) have proven to be a valuable asset in the daily operations of the department. We currently have two dual purpose dogs (Narcotics Detection / Patrol Service Dog) and one single purpose Narcotics Detection Dog. The K-9 teams work 8-hour shifts during peak hours of service throughout the week, but they are available 24/7 by call out if necessary.
The K-9 officers and their canine counterparts are frequently called upon to complete a variety of tasks, primarily during in-progress incidents encountered by patrol officers. Their services include:
- criminal apprehension
- building searches
- area searches
- evidence detection
- narcotics detection
- tracking missing persons
- tracking fleeing suspects
- crowd control
- protecting the lives of their handlers and other law enforcement officers
Each K-9 is assigned to an officer and lives with that officer and his or her family. In order to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the K-9 unit, continuous education is a top priority. Each K-9 dog and handler is trained and certified annually to meet the nationally recognized standards. Reliability and consistency in job performance is very important to our K-9 Units. Their ongoing proficiency training ensures each dog will act and perform according to expectations and standards, and that each handler knows how to elicit the best work from the dog. With this in mind, all handlers and their dogs consistently exceed the number of expected hours for monthly maintenance training. The San Marcos Police Department K-9 team literally saves hundreds of man hours each year searching for narcotics, criminal suspects and missing persons. Our canines, with the use of their enhanced sense of smell, can search a location in a fraction of the time that it would take an officer or search team, therefore allowing our resources to be back in full service in a timely manner.
The San Marcos Police Department primarily uses Belgian Malinois and German Shepherds as our K-9 companions. These dogs are acquired through vendors or breeders who specialize in importing working Police Service Dogs, usually from Western Europe. The dogs will typically join the Police Department when they are about 18 to 24 months old. Each K-9 will complete about 400 hours of training in Narcotics Detection and/or 600 hours in Patrol Service work with its handler to be certified as a law enforcement canine.
Our K-9 Unit not only works diligently to provide the citizens of San Marcos the protection they deserve, they continuously work to maintain a favorable relationship within the city by actively participating in community events. This team spends numerous hours within our local schools educating our youth about drugs and prevention. They also work with many community groups and provide general K-9 demonstrations whenever possible.
Well-trained police service dogs are a treasured part of any department. To that end, Texas state law helps protect law enforcement canines by making it a felony to injure or kill a police dog.