Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting to Know the Department: OPPD K-9 Unit

The Overland Park Police Department’s K-9 unit was established in 1989, by Detective Bob Valencia and his K-9 partner Blitz. Today, the unit consists of three K-9 teams: Officer Cory Flaming and K-9 Weaver, Officer Justin Doherty and K-9 Deuce, and Officer Ben Hardin and K-9 Cezar. Officer Cory Flaming serves as the trainer of the unit, and Sergeant Roger Pesek is the supervisor.

K-9 Weaver started in July 2011 and is the newest member of the unit. He is a Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands. K-9 Deuce is a Belgian Malinois from France and has served for more than seven years. K-9 Cezar is a German Shepherd from Slovakia, and has served for over five years.

All three K-9’s are considered “dual-purpose,” as they have two main areas of focus and use. The first area is for patrol and tactical responses. These types of responses may include: searching buildings and open areas, tracking, and apprehending suspects. The K-9’s are also trained to protect their handler. The second area of focus is detection. K-9 Weaver is trained for explosives detection, while K-9’s Deuce and Cezar are trained for narcotics detection.

In 2011, the K-9 teams were called for patrol or tactical response more than 90 times. K-9’s Deuce and Cezar searched more than 210 vehicles/buildings, resulting in more than 100 narcotics finds. K-9 Weaver searched nearly 290 vehicles/buildings, resulting in three explosives finds.

In addition to serving the City of Overland Park, the K-9 teams responded to assist surrounding cities on 25 occasions in 2011.