Anyone that has seen a cop movie knows that an officer is only as good as his partner. For Officer Kenneth Davis of the Kansas City Police Department, he knows he can rely on his partner. After all, he's man's best friend. Meet one of KCPD's K-9 teams!
Officer Davis has served for 13 years and worked in the K-9 unit (Special Operations Division Patrol Support Unit K-9 section) for eight of those years. He was always interested in being a K-9 officer, a position which, he says, most officers don't leave.
Davis' partner is Victor, a Belgian Malinois trained to detect explosives. All K-9 dogs are trained in either drug detection or bomb detection. Davis is only responsible for K-9 related calls, although he can and does respond to other calls as well. The KCPD has 12 K-9 teams, all which have a specific skill (narcotics or explosives) and training to find and subdue suspects.
"I tell people that I play professional hide and go seek. Most of what I do is preplanned--VIP appearances, major events, things of that nature. We are a locating tool," says Davis.
Davis says that he and Victor secure NFL and MLB games, rallies, and even investigate bomb threats called into schools and businesses. He also responds to field searches or tripped alarms in businesses. Each case is assessed to make sure that the risk is worth it.
One of the more enjoyable parts of Davis' job is doing demonstrations with Victor at area schools and with various organizations such as the Boy Scouts.
Being a K-9 cop is a 24/7 job--in fact, Victor lives with Davis. His police car is modified to accommodate Victor as well. The back seat is removed and has been modified to be a spacious kennel for Victor. The car is climate controlled whether Davis is in it or not and he can open the door to let Victor out remotely as well. When I spoke to Davis, his car, where Victor was waiting, was a cool 58 degrees.
Davis emphasizes that Victor is a working dog--his reward is searching and finding his target. He does enjoy playing ball and spinning in the police car, but as Davis says, 'If he likes playing ball more than catching bad guys, that's a problem. We keep their work the fun part."
Victor and Davis have been partnered since April. At home, Davis keeps his retired dog, Victor, and a pit bull mix puppy that was a gift for his kids, ages 3 and 6. Obviously, Davis doesn't mind the fur.
Davis loves meeting people when he's out with Victor but emphasizes that approaching a working animal should always be done cautiously and with communication with the owner. "We try to emphasize in demonstrations that any dog, whether it's a working dog or a personal pet, you should ask the owner first," he says.
Davis and Victor enjoy making sure that the streets are safe for Kansas City residents, one case at a time.